Nepal refutes SL claims

Nepal has refuted claims made by a Sri Lankan minister that it had sought the island nation's help to diffuse the ongoing political crisis in the Himalyan nation. Sri Lankan external affairs minister GL Peiris had stated in parliament on Wednesday that Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav had sought his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa's help.

He said that the request was made when both the presidents had met last month in China on sidelines of the Shanghai Expo.

"It is a baseless claim. No such request was made by the President during his meeting with the Sri Lankan President," Rajendra Dahal, press advisor to President Ram Baran Yadav told HT.

He added that the Nepali embassy in Sri Lanka has also issued a statement terming the claim as unsubstantiated.

The fresh development comes amid growing resentment in Nepal against India's alleged interference in the deadlocked prime ministerial poll.

Despite 16 rounds of voting since Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal's resignation in June, Nepal has failed to find a replacement.

Difference among parties over who should head the next government is the main reason for the impasse.

Maoist party chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal who withdrew from the contest after seven failed attempts has accused India of sabotaging his chances at regaining the post he quit in May last year.

The delay in electing a new prime minister has also affected the peace process and drafting of the country's new constitution.

Integration of former Maoist combatants into Nepal's army is another area of dispute that has brought the four year old peace process to a near halt.

In July this year Rajapaksa has visited Male to mediate in the crisis between the Maldives President and the opposition controlled parliament.

"President Rajapaksa is now being accepted not only as the leader of Sri Lanka but as a regional leader too," Peiris was quoted by Sri Lankan media.

The minister's statement was widely reported in the island's media as reflection of Rajapaksa’s growing stature both within Sri Lanka and outside.

Source: Hindustan Times

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