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Nepal Deputy PM Thapa calls Swaraj from London


Kathmandu: Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa held a series of telephonic conversations with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj from London, where he had gone on an official visit amid a blockade of major Indo-Nepal trade points by Indian-origin Madhesi protesters.

Thapa, who returned to the Nepalese capital Kathmandu today concluding his five-day visit to the UK, thrice talked to Swaraj from London, officials said today, without divulging the details of the conversation.

In the UK, Thapa held talks with British counterpart Phillip Hammond and Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire.

On his return, Thapa expressed optimism about an early resolution of the Madhesi protests in southern Terai region.

“We have come very close to the resolution to the problem and the crisis will end through talks,” he told reporters.

Amid the blockade, Thapa has earlier twice visited India since taking over as Deputy Prime Minister. He held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Swaraj and had sought help to ease the blockade.

Madhesis, the Indian-origin inhabitants of the Terai region and who constitute nearly 52 per cent of Nepal’s population, have been agitating for the past four months, demanding more representation in the Constitution adopted in September.

Nepal has previously alleged that India has imposed and “unofficial blockade” of trade under the Madhesi protest cover. India has dismissed the allegations.

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