Nepal specially invites Modi to donor conference

Kathmandu, June 10 (IANS) Nepal’s Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat left for New Delhi on Wednesday to invite Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to an international donor conference being hosted here on June 25 to raise funds for reconstruction following the damage caused by the devastating April 25 earthquake.

Mahat will meet Modi on Thursday and will hand over an invitation extended by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala to participate in the conference the HImalayan nation nis hosting.

Nepal is sending special invitations only to Modi, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey will be traveling to Beijing later this week to invite Li.

Though the exact picture of the damage caused by the quake and aftershocks is yet to be made public — called Post Disaster Need Assessment — preliminary estimates made by the finance ministry suggest it could be around $10 billion.

The Nepal government has already set up a $2-billion fund for the reconstruction and rebuilding.

Over 65 representatives from various nations, donor agencies, development partners and multilateral donor agencies will be invited, said the finance ministry.

“We have great expectations from Modi whose prompt response immediately in the aftermath of the quake was commendable and praiseworthy. So, we expect the same kind of generosity from India and the Indian government for this conference,” a senior finance ministry official told IANS.

Besides meeting Modi, Mahat will meet his Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other leaders.

According to the finance ministry, bilateral discussions would be held regarding utilisation and implementation of the financial support announced during Modi’s visit.

Modi had announced a soft loan of $1 billion during his visit to Nepal in August last year.

Discussions would be held on various issues, including opening of bank accounts of Nepalis residing in India, countervailing duties bearing Nepali production in India, Indian investment in Nepal and bilateral trade expansion.

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