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Koirala to lead Nepalese delegation to SAARC

By Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu
March 26, 2007 23:38 IST
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Nepalese Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala will lead a high-level delegation to New Delhi to attend the 14th SAARC Summit that begins on April 3.

Koirala, 83, who is suffering from respiratory problems and minor illness will leave for India on April 1, two days prior to the beginning of the summit due to health reasons, sources at the Prime Minister's office said.

For the first time, Koirala will be attending the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation summit both as head of the government and as head of the state, with Nepal's King Gyanendra being stripped of his powers.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister K P Sharma Oli and other senior government officials will also accompany Koirala during the visit. This will be Koirala's second visit to New Delhi since democracy was restored in Nepal in April, 2006.

Koirala is currently busy in hectic consultations with his party colleagues as well as top leaders of the major political parties to form a new Interim government inclusive of the Maoists.

Efforts are on to form the new government under his leadership before he leaves for New Delhi. However, it is certain that Koirala will lead the Nepalese delegation to SAARC summit whether the new government is formed or not, a senior minister said.

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Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu
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