UK-Nepal govt level talks on November 3

Published On: November 1, 2022 02:45 PM NPT By: Chiran Sharma  | @chiranuk

LONDON, Nov 1: Government level talks will be held between the UK and Nepal to discuss the demands of ex-Gurkha soldiers retired from the British Army.

According to the Nepali Embassy in London, the door of negotiations opened after the British government agreed to hold formal talks between the two countries on November 3.

Roshan Khanal, Deputy Chief of Mission and Spokesperson for the Nepali Embassy in London, said that Sarah Atherton, Assistant Minister for Veteran Affairs will lead the talks on behalf of the British government.

Earlier, the Nepal government formed a negotiation committee under the coordination of the Nepali Ambassador to the UK, Gyan Chandra Acharya, to negotiate with the British government on the issue of ex-Gurkha soldiers. However, due to political changes in the UK, the British government has been holding back the discussions.

According to a high-level source at the Nepali Embassy in London, the British government had pressured them to accept the preconditions before sitting for the negotiations. However, the source did not want to mention those conditions.

Krishna Bahadur Rai, chief coordinator of the Gorkha Satyagraha Joint Struggle Committee, said that there should be a tripartite dialogue with the British government based on the technical report received on March 4.

He mentioned that they would accept the conclusion of the talks between the UK-Nepal government and representatives of Ex-Gurkhas, but would not accept any preconditions.

The UK has said that it has given priority to issues such as social security for the families of ex-soldiers in the UK and health care for the families of ex-soldiers in Nepal.

Retired Major Jud Bahadur Gurung will lead the Gurkha Satyagraha Joint Struggle Committee in the talks to be held at the Ministry of Defense in London.

Ex-servicemen who have been protesting for a long time have been demanding the same pension and rights as the Gurkha soldiers who retired before 1997.

Some have said that the UK stalled the talks because it would cost the British government multi million pounds to address all of the ex-servicemen's demands. Therefore, it is suspected that the formal talks to be held next month will be completely fruitful. The Nepali Embassy in London believes that the start of the talks is a positive step by the British government and that the final conclusions will be drawn from the talks.

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