Nepal declines China’s invite to Olympics

August 3rd, 2008 - 2:04 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, Aug 3 (IANS) In an unprecedented move, Nepal’s new head of state, President Ram Baran Yadav, has declined the invitation from northern neighbour China to attend the Olympic Games at Beijing this week. “The president is busy consulting the political parties about the formation of the new government and feels he should stay in the country to swear in the new government, which could be formed any time,” officials from the president’s Office and the foreign ministry told IANS.

Last week, Yadav had asked the Maoists, who became the largest party after the April election, to form the government within seven days. The deadline ends Tuesday.

If the former rebels’ effort to cobble a consensus government fails, they have said they intend to muster majority in the house or even failing that, try to push a minority government of their own.

However, should that too fail, the president might ask the anti-Maoist coalition of three other major parties to have a go at forming the new government.

This is the first time a Nepali dignitary has declined an invitation abroad on the ground that he is required at home.

In the past, the top political leaders have been known to abandon their stations at home even in the midst of dire crises to attend inconsequential junkets abroad.

The latest such controversy erupted in Nepal last week when caretaker Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala went to the 15th SAARC Summit in Colombo though his resignation had been accepted and the major parties were calling for the president to represent Nepal at the summit.

A section of Nepal’s media had been making much ado over the Olympic invitation, taking it for granted that Yadav would go.

It had been projected as China’s diplomatic triumph over India, which had been Koirala’s first destination abroad after he became prime minister three years ago.

Even Maoist chief Prachanda’s desire to visit Mao Zedong’s birthplace has been obstructed by the political impasse in Nepal and his party’s failure to form the new government.

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