KATHMANDU, June 5: Visiting Norwegian Minister for International Development, Heikki Holmas, has expressed his disappointment at the demise of the Constituent Assembly and urged political parties to forge national consensus to move ahead.
Addressing a press conference Tuesday at the end of his two-day visit to Nepal, Minister Holmas said, "My visit to Nepal was planned as celebration of the new constitution. Unfortunately this did not happen."
He urged the parties to preserve the progress made so far in constitution drafting and said, "I expect that politicians in Nepal are doing their utmost to revive consensus and deliver a new constitution at the earliest."
"The ongoing debate on various key issues including federalism of new constitution is very encouraging. They will help find consensus among parties."
Minister Holmas had separate parleys with various political leaders including Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai Monday. He also visited Norway-funded Khimti hydropower project site Tuesday.
He noted that Norway has invested in energy sector for over a decade and would continue to invest in developing Nepal´s vast hydropower potentials.
Minister Holmas said that Nepal needs to focus urgently on economic and social development and that Norway is prepared to be a long-term partner and to support Nepal´s stability, peace and development. "An investment-friendly climate is a must for investment in Nepal," he concluded.
Minister Holmas was appointed as new International Development minister of Norway some two months back. His visit to Nepal is the first international visit after he assumed the ministerial portfolio.