Tuesday, September 30, 2008

PM Prachanda returns home; dubs New York trip as fruitful

Prime Minister Prachanda returned home on Tuesday, wrapping up a ten-day tour to the United States where he attended the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly and met a number of world leaders including US President George W. Bush.

Speaking to the press on his arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, the PM said the visit was successful as it was an important opportunity to apprise the international community on the recent political change in Nepal, ongoing peace process and the constitution-making process.

Prachanda said most leaders that he met on the sidelines of the General Assembly session were curious about the changes that have taken pace in Nepal.

"In all bilateral meetings, the Prime Minister highlighted the far reaching political transformation process that is underway in Nepal and expressed his commitment to bring about rapid socio-economic transformation in the country concurrently," a release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Explaining about his meeting with US President Bush, PM Prachanda described the brief encounter with Bush during a reception as a positive development in the backdrop of bad relations between the Maoist party and the US.

According to him, there was no discussion with the President on removing CPN-Maoist from the US terror list, but the issue did figure in his meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Richard Boucher.

"We are moving a step further in terms of the relation with the Maoist party and we will see to matters concerning the terrorist list," he quoted Boucher as saying. Prachanda added that the meetings with the top US leaders were an indication of the improving relations between his party and the US.

During his stay in New York, PM had also met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and discussed Nepal's peace process and the UN engagement in it. Reports said the UNSG accepted his invitation for a visit to Nepal, possibly next month.

PM Prachanda was accompanied by his wife Sita and son Prakash, apart from half a dozen senior government officials, during the visit.

This was his third foreign trip within two months of becoming the first Prime Minister of republican Nepal. Earlier, he had visited the two immediate neighbours - China and India

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