UK seeks end to political deadlock in Nepal



Kathmandu: The UK asked political leaders to end the deadlock over the extension of Nepal's legislature, which is set to expire today, amid fears that it could lead to a constitutional crisis and chaos in the country.

Alan Dunkan, the UK Minister of State for International Development, met embattled Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and other senior political leaders and asked them to forge a consensus to break the political deadlock.

The minister, who also met Maoist deputy chairman Baburam Bhattarai, said that it is up to the Nepalese people to decide how they arrive at consensus.

Nepal's ruling coalition last week introduced a bill in the 601-Assembly to extend the term of the House for one year so that it can finish the task of framing a new constitution.

Leaders of the three major political parties -- the main Opposition CPN-Maoist, the Nepali Congress and the prime minister's Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) -- have failed to reach an agreement to end the standoff over the extension of the Constituent Assembly.

The expiry of the House will lead to the end of the mandate of the interim constitution, creating a political chaos and constitutional crisis, according to experts.

Dunkan said UK, which is one of largest financial aid provider to the country, would continue to give development assistance despite a new coalition government taking office in London.

The government of UK would like to continue the assistance being provided to Nepal despite the recent changes in our government, said Dunkan, who was here for a brief visit.

He said UK government will continue its help to make differences to the lives of poor people in Nepal.

UK currently provides 56 million pound annually for various development projects in Nepal.

The UK minister also paid a visit to Bhojapur and Biratnagar to review development programmes being undertaken by the UK government's Department of International Development, according to a press release by the British Embassy.

PTI