Nepal to participate in OBOR meeting

Indo Asian News Service

Kathmandu, April 28 (IANS) Nepal has confirmed it will participate in the One Belt One Road (OBOR) Conference in China next month, a media report said on Friday.

The Nepali side on Thursday communicated to the Chinese authorities that Kathmandu is sending a high-level delegation to the conference, according to Rishi Raj Adhikari, Foreign Relations Adviser to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda', the Kathmandu Post reported.

The conference will start on May 14.

Officials are continuing efforts to sign an agreement with China during the conference for Nepal to become part of OBOR, a flagship foreign policy initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara will lead the Nepali delegation to the conference.

Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat and Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi held a series of meetings with Chinese Ambassador Yu Hong on Monday and Tuesday at the Foreign Ministry in order to narrow down differences and to agree on a text that Nepal can sign at the conference.

Officials said the two sides have already settled sections on connectivity but issues like commerce, financial institutions and currency arrangements and Nepal's lobbying for special favour in trade and investment as a least developed country are yet to be addressed.

After intensive meetings, the Chinese side is learnt to have told Nepali officials that they will respond to Nepal's concerns after consultation with Beijing within a couple of days.

"If China agrees to our terms, we'll sign the agreement at the upcoming conference," said Adhikari.

At least 28 heads of state and over 150 nations have confirmed their participation in the conference. Conceived and bankrolled by China, OBOR is a long-term strategic initiative to improve connectivity and enhance trade routes from Southeast Asia to Europe.

--IANS

sm/vt