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EPG agrees to review Nepal-India treaties

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — The first meeting of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) has agreed to review a scope of bilateral issues including the treaties and agreements since the 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

The EPG, comprising diplomats from both Nepal and India, has also chosen to hold its second meeting in New Delhi after three months and meet regularly every three months.

The meeting that kicked off in the capital on Monday concluded Tuesday.

Emerging out of the meeting, Nepali EPG Coordinator and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Bheikh Bahadur Thapa said, “All the bilateral issues and concerns raised between Nepal and India in different times entered the meeting. No issues have been left out”.

“After the formation the EPG, we have asked the Government of Nepal and all the ministries to provide us all the documents of bilateral treaties, agreements and arrangements with India. We have a huge pile of documents. Starting with the grand old treaty of 1950, we will go through all the agreements and arrangements,” said Thapa.

But he declined to note as what bilateral issues were raised in the meeting.

The EPG was formed to take stock the overall aspects of Nepal-India relations and to recommend for further improvement in the bilateral relations.

The EPG was mandated to study the bilateral treaties and agreements along with various sectors including trade and transportation, information technology and development and recommend for further improvements.

Likewise, Coordinator of the Eminent Persons Group, India, and former Chief Minister of Uttaranchal Province, India, Bhagat Singh Koshyari said that the Nepal-India relations was reviewed in the meeting. “The meeting of our Group will find out discontents between the two countries and will recommend both governments to resolve it.”

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Koshyari said that India and people of India have always wanted to see a prosperous and happy Nepal. He said, “Our Group has some limitations. We have no right to cross it. We will carry out work in line with course of action given to the Group.”

The former Chief Minister responded by saying that India has always taken Nepal as a good neighbor and has always wanted political stability and progress in the country.

Responding to a query about India not welcoming the new constitution of Nepal, Coordinator Koshyari said that he is a politician but the issue was out of group’s jurisdiction.

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Govt fixes 18 ministries including Office of PM in Center

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — The government has fixed 18 ministries, including the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) from the current 30, at the central level, under the new federal setup.

A cabinet meeting held at the Prime Minister’s official residence at Baluwatar on Friday fixed the number of ministries including the OPMCM at 18.

The Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli decided to limit the Cabinet to 18 ministries, including the Prime Minister’s Office, according to Environment Minister Lal Babu Pandit.

“Now the number of ministries will be 18, with the OPMCM included,” Minister Pandit told reporters following the cabinet meeting.

The cabinet decision comes two days after leaders of the left alliance–CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center)–agreed to bring down the number of ministries to 18 at the federal level.

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The new constitution has stated the central government can have a maximum of 25 ministers, including the prime minister.

Besides the OPMCM, the proposed 17 ministries are the federal affairs and general administration; ministries of finance and planning; foreign affairs; defense; physical infrastructure and transport; health and population; information and communications; law, justice and parliamentary affairs; culture, tourism and civil aviation; labor, employment, women and children; urban development, drinking water and sanitation; and agriculture, cooperatives and land management; education and sports; home affairs; forest and environment; water resources and energy; industry, commerce and supplies.

Likewise, the Cabinet meeting has also appointed CPN-UML politburo member Bishnu Rimal as Chief Political Advisor to PM. Earlier, Rimal had served as the chief political advisor during Oli’s previous premiership.

The decision will come into effect after the government endorses the proposal on the jurisdictions of the 17 ministries, according to OPMCM officials.

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