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Ball is in King's court: Karan Singh

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MESSAGE TO THE MONARCH: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's special envoy Karan Singh with King Gyanendra at the Narayanhiti Royal Palace in Kathmandu on Thursday. Dr. Singh expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in the Kingdom. He said the K ing appeared receptive. Photo: AP
MESSAGE TO THE MONARCH: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's special envoy Karan Singh with King Gyanendra at the Narayanhiti Royal Palace in Kathmandu on Thursday. Dr. Singh expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in the Kingdom. He said the K ing appeared receptive. Photo: AP

Diplomatic Correspondent

"I am optimistic. I am hopeful that the King Gyanendra will make an announcement shortly''

King has to play positive roleStress on genuine dialogue

NEW DELHI: After meeting King Gyanendra in Kathmandu on Thursday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's special envoy to Nepal, Karan Singh, said he was hopeful that the beleaguered monarch would make an announcement shortly.

Soon after his return here, Dr. Karan Singh said: "I am optimistic. I am hopeful that the King will make an announcement shortly. The ball is in the King's court."

During his two-day visit to Kathmandu, he also met leaders of political parties to assess the impact of the massive anti-Gyanendra protests.

The envoy said India was concerned over the difficulties being faced by the people both economic and political as well as the breakdown of law and order. "He [King Gyanendra] is the head of state. He has to play a positive role. I found that his attitude was positive," Dr. Karan Singh maintained.

Earlier, an official statement said the envoy, during his meeting with the King, stressed the need for a genuine dialogue between the constitutional forces to urgently restore multiparty democracy. This was essential to "overcome" the current crisis in the Himalayan nation.

"He has conveyed India's readiness to support all efforts towards this end [of restoring democracy] while emphasising that a lasting solution to the problems of Nepal has to be found by the people through a peaceful political process," it stressed.

The visit of the special envoy took place in the backdrop of the current political developments in Nepal, which have been a cause of deep concern to India and other members of the international community, the release said.

Asked about the Karan Singh-Gyanendra meeting, the External Affairs Ministry spokesman told presspersons that India stood ready to support efforts to restore democracy in Nepal.

"He [the envoy] has conveyed the message to His Majesty ... India stands ready to support all efforts towards moving Nepal back to a multiparty democracy. But it is for the people of Nepal to find a lasting political solution to the crisis that the country is facing," he maintained.

Asked whether India could take "harsh" measures in case the envoy's message did not prove sufficient for the King, the spokesman said it would continue to monitor the situation in Nepal.

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