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NC leader KC meets British officials, politicians

Senior leader of Nepali Congress, Arjun Narsingh KC, called on Richard Ottoway, MP and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee at the House of Parliament, in London on Tuesday.

During the meeting, KC briefed Ottoway about the current political situation in Nepal and challenges Nepal is facing in drafting a new constitution and completing the peace process. He also apprised Mr. Ottoway about the decision made by the BBC World Service to shutdown the shortwave transmissions and said it will deprive millions of listeners of the BBC Nepali Service especially in the remote, hilly region of Nepal. He also urged Mr Ottaway to take up the issue with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the British government and make sure that the short-wave transmissions continues until other viable alternatives are available.

KC with Sir John Stanley in front of the Big Ben at the north end of Palace of Westminster in London
KC with Sir John Stanley in front of the Big Ben at the north end of Palace of Westminster in London.

KC also visited the School of Oriental and African studies (SOAS), University of London where he was received by Prof Paul Webley, director and Principal of the SOAS, Dr. Lawrence Saez Chair, Centre of South Asian Studies and Dr. Mara Malgodi. They shared their views on the current political scenario in Nepal including the status of peace process and constitution making.

KC also met Luis Ayala, Secretary General of the Socialist International (SI), at the SI’s headquarters in London. Ayala lauded Nepali Congress party’s role in Nepal’s democratic movement and expressed hope that Nepali political parties would be able to draft a new constitution in time. Formed in 1951, the Socialist International is an umbrella organisation of social democratic parties around the world.

On Tuesday evening, KC had an interaction with members of media and Nepali students studying in the UK. Addressing the program organised by www.nepalbritain.com at the Everest 53 Restaurant at Hunslow. Mr KC said as things stood, the chances of formulating a new constitution in time were very slim. He blamed the Maoists of not sticking to the past agreements and trying to capture power by stealth. He, however, warned that Nepali people would not accept authoritarianism under any disguise. The program chaired by Chiranjivi Dhakal was conducted by editor of NepalBritain.com, Chiran Sharma.

On Monday, KC called upon Asia Director of the DFID, Ms. Beverley Warmington, and thanked DFID for their support towards peace process, in tackling impact of climate change and programs aimed at socio-economic development of Nepal. He also had separated meeting with Mr William Middleton, Deputy Director, South Asia, at the Foreign and Commonwealth office (FCO) in London and discussed about current status of Nepal’s peace and constitution making process. Ms. Rosalind Corrigan, Nepal Desk officer, at the FCO, was also present in the meeting.

KC also had meeting with Sir John Stanley, MP, and chairman of the Britain-Nepal Parliamentary Group and Virendra Sharma, MP, and Vice Chairman of the Britain-Nepal Parliamentary Group separately and apprised them about the latest political situation in Nepal. He also had a meeting with Emma Reynolds, a Labour MP and shadow foreign office minister. He also met Dr. Gareth Price, head of the South Asia programme at the Chatham House, a think tank based in London. He also visited the Gurkha Museum at Winchester.

The first Gurkha Museum in the UK was established at Church Crookham in 1973. In 1989 this was closed and the artefacts transferred to Winchester. Officially opened in July 1990, the Museum commemorates the service of Gurkhas to the British Crown since 1815, and showcases records and artefacts pertaining to the old Indian Army Gurkha Brigade, the post-partition Brigade of Gurkhas and the present Brigade of Gurkhas.

KC also addressed the eighth anniversary of the Nepali Jana Samparka Samiti (NJSS) UK at Aldershot. Addressing the function, KC said the seven-point compact between the Maoists and CPN (UML) had objectionable provisions regarding integration of the former Maoist combatants. He urged Maoists to understand that Nepali people were not looking for a totalitarian system prevalent in Cuba or North Korea. “We won’t compromise on the basic tenets of democracy and pluralism,” he said.

KC left for Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday where he is scheduled to address the 2nd general convention of the NJSS Qatar. nepalnews.com