Nepal Army chief to visit UK to boost military ties

Nepal Army chief Chhatra Man Singh Gurung will begin a key visit to the UK to boost bilateral military ties.

Kathmandu: Nepal Army chief Chhatra Man
Singh Gurung will begin a key visit to the UK on Sunday to
boost bilateral military ties at a time when Britain has
underlined the need to find a consensus to integrate the
former Maoist guerrillas into the security forces.

General Gurung, who is leaving for London tomorrow on
a ten-day visit, will hold talks with top officials and visit
Headquarters of the Brigade of Gurkhas, Gurkha Welfare Trust
and Gorkha Museum.

This will be the first official visit to UK by the
Nepal Army chief.

The top general, who is going to the UK at the
invitation of Chief of General Staff, Sir Peter Wall, will
also visit the Defence Academy here.

The visit comes amid the political uncertainty in
Nepal that has derailed the 2006 landmark peace process.

Three months after the 22-party coalition led by Prime
Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal collapsed, nine rounds of voting
in Parliament have failed to elect a new leader.

The country has been without a government since June
30, when Nepal stood down under intense pressure from the

Amid the political crisis, Nepal`s parties are also
deadlocked over the future of the U.N.-verified 19,000 Maoist
combatants, who have to be rehablitated and integrated with
the military, a key part of the 2006 Comprehensive Peace
Accord that ended the decade-long insurgency and brought the
former Maoist rebels into mainstream politcs.

The standoff has put new stresses on Nepal`s
reconciliation efforts amid fears that the stalled peace
process may be derailed.

The UK, which is a major financial donor for Nepal and
has close links with the military, has experessed concern over
the deadlock and called for consensus among the parties to
push the peace process forward.

Earlier this week, Nepali Congress leader R C Poudyal,
the sole candidate for the post of Prime Minister, failed in
his ninth attempt in a row to garner a majority in parliament.

Following Maoist chief Prachanda`s failure to get
majority support in Parliament seven times in a row, he
withdrew from the election on September 17 after a deal with
the CPN-UML in bid to facilitate the formation of a national
consensus government.



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