BIPPA against national sovereignty, needs revision: FM Shrestha
KATHMANDU, July 23: Arguing that the agreement is against national sovereignty, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayankaji Shrestha on Monday demanded revision of the Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (BIPPA) with India.
Addressing an interaction organized by Reporters´ Club Nepal in the capital, Minister Shrestha, who is also vice chairman of the ruling UCPN (Maoist), revealed that there was differences within the party whether the deal should have been struck in the existing form.
His remark comes amid strong criticisms of the prime minister on the issue by the CPN-Maoist led by Mohan Baidya.
Shrestha said that there had not been any discussions within the party and no institutional deliberation took place before the signing of the agreement with India. “I had expressed my reservation even during cabinet meeting. I had registered my dissent even at the dialogue table when it was being discussed with the Indian prime minister,” Shrestha, who was a deputy prime minister and foreign minister at the time, said.
Minister Shrestha said that he had demanded that the party form its official view on the agreement only after studying it in detail. “BIPPA needs correction. This agreement needs a review as the prime minister inked the deal without forging consensus within and outside the party,” he further said.
He said that he and Prime Minister Bhattarai had different views on the issue of safeguarding and promoting national interest. “We do not need to go against any country to safeguard and promote our national sovereignty and interests,” he added.
No change on India stance
Arguing that the seventh plenum of the Maoists had given a direction to push for a revolution in favor of national sovereignty, Shrestha said that the Maoists haven´t changed their stance on how they see India after the recently concluded seventh plenum held in the capital.
Shrestha expressed confidence that the election of Pranab Mukherjee as the new president of India would help strengthen the relations between Nepal and India. “It won´t be otherwise to expect that the election of a person who knows Nepal closely would leave a positive impact in addressing some irritant factors between Nepal and India,” he said.
Election to be deferred if no consensus
On the occasion, Minister Shrestha said that the Constituent Assembly (CA) election scheduled for November 22 would be deferred if the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML did not arrive at consensus within next few days.
He said that the election is not possible without NC and UML agreeing to amend the Interim Constitution.