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India?s foreign secy to visit Nepal

After a two-day visit to insurgency-ravaged Sri Lanka, India?s Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon will now visit Nepal. Anirban Roy reports.

india Updated: Nov 26, 2006 03:08 IST

After a two-day visit to insurgency-ravaged Sri Lanka, India’s Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon will now visit Nepal, where the Maoist insurgents recently signed a peace agreement and ended their 11-year-old armed struggle.

Sources in the Indian embassy in Kathmandu told the Hindustan Times on Saturday evening that Menon would be on a three-day visit to Nepal and would reach Kathmandu on November 29 evening.

Though the embassy is yet to make an official announcement on the Foreign Secretary’s visit, the sources described Menon’s first official trip to Nepal as “important” in view of the country’s changing political equations.

The Maoists are in the process of locking up their arms in designated camps. If the peace agreement moves as per schedule, the Maoists are likely to join the interim government of Nepal, which is likely to be headed by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, on December 1.

During his visit to Kathmandu, Menon will meet Koirala, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister KP Sharma Oli and senior members of the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and review the political situation in Nepal.

Menon will also meet United Nations officials and review the progress of management of Maoists guerillas and their arms, the sources said.

India has welcomed the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which brought an end to the decade-old insurgency in Nepal.

There are reports that Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, would be in New Delhi on Monday to brief the Foreign Secretary and other senior officials on the political situation here.

Sources said Menon has no plans to meet Maoist leaders or even King Gyanendra during his visit.

First Published: Nov 26, 2006 03:08 IST