UK to hold key meeting of top Nepalese leaders to end crisis

The UK, which is one of the biggest economic donors of Nepal, is holding a key meeting of top political leaders in London.

Kathmandu: The UK, which is one of the
biggest economic donors of Nepal, is holding a key meeting of
top political leaders in London to end the standoff over the
election of a new prime minister that has stalled the 2006
peace process in the country.

Britain`s Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition government
has invited senior leaders of the main Opposition UCPN-Maoist
and the two key partners in the caretaker government, Nepali
Congress and CPN (UML), for a meeting in London, the
nepalnews online reported today.

Maoist vice chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Nepali
Congress General Secretary Prakash Man Singh and CPN-UML
Secretary Bishnu Poudel will leave for London tomorrow on a
five-day trip, the report said.

This is probably for the first time that a major donor
country is hosting the senior leaders of the three big parties
together. "They are to apprise the British leaders of the
constitution-writing and peace process," it said.

In London, the Nepalese leaders are expected to meet
top UK leaders, including ministers, opposition party members
and business heads.

Shrestha`s assistant Shital Kaji was quoted as saying
the Nepali Congress leader is expected to meet
parliamentarians and government officials.

Shrestha will also visit Belgium and France after the
the UK trip, the report said.

The visit of the top Nepalese leaders comes amid the
constitutional deadlock that has put the country on the brink
of a financial crisis, as officials warned that the government
would be unable to pay civil servants and run essential
services if the delayed budget is not passed by mid-November.

Four months after the 22-party coalition led by
Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal collapsed, 14 rounds of
elections in Parliament have so far failed to elect a new

The Parliament approved an interim budget to allow the
caretaker government to run day-to-day activities for four
months and pay civil servants, but that expires on November

Finance ministry officials have warned that the
country would face a severe financial crisis if the budget is
not passed in the two weeks.

Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudyal, the sole
candidate who is adamant over not quitting the prime
ministerial race, failed to garner a majority in Parliament
yesterday, prolonging the leadership crisis in the country.

Political analysts have warned that a delay in forming
a new government could also derail the 2006 peace process.

"There will be chaos. All the government`s plans and policies
will be affected," an expert said.