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As blockade ends, Nepal announces Oli’s visit

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Within hours of the end of commercial blockade in Birgunj, the biggest trading post on the Indo-Nepal border, Nepal on Saturday declared that Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli would visit India on February 19.

“We have communicated to the Ministry of External Affairs of India about the February 19 visit to Delhi by Prime Minister Oli. The communication is based on our understanding with the Ministry of External Affairs of India,” Nepal’s ambassador to India, Deep Kumar Upadhyay, told The Hindu. Mr. Upadhyay said that the end of the blockade at Birgunj had persuaded Nepal to finally declare the date of the visit which had been under discussions since Mr.Oli became Prime Minister of Nepal in October 2015.

Mr.Oli’s planned visit to Delhi has been a contentious issue in Nepal, especially since India had been accused of supporting the blockade in Birgunj and the rest of the border. Mr. Oli himself added to the dilemma by often making accusatory statements targeting India. The China-Nepal economic agreements, meanwhile, added substance to the reports that the Nepal Prime Minister might choose to visit Beijing first, instead of Delhi. But Mr. Upadhyay said that Mr. Oli’s plan to visit China too had been finalised and would follow shortly after the Delhi visit. “Prime Minister Oli will visit Beijing for the Boao meet in March. The date for a bilateral visit is also under discussion,” Mr. Upadhyay said, indicating that bilateral meetings between Nepal and China were likely to follow Mr.Oli’s participation in the Boao Forum for Asia conference. However, the background work for Mr.Oli’s visit is expected to take place during the two-day visit by Nepal’s Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel, who will reach Delhi on Sunday.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 9:28:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/as-blockade-ends-nepal-announces-olis-visit/article8203756.ece

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