14th meeting of the Ministerial Joint Committee of His Majesty's Government of Nepal and the Royal Government of Bhutan on issue of refugees
Fourteenth MINISTERIAL JOINT COMMITTEE MEETING
Kathmandu, May 19-22, 2003
Joint Press Release
1. The Ministerial Joint Committee (MJC) of His Majesty's Government of Nepal and the Royal Government of Bhutan held its Fourteenth meeting in Kathmandu from May 19 to 22, 2003.
2. His Excellency Lyonpo Jigmi Y. Thinley, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bhutan, led the Bhutanese delegation that included His Excellency Dasho Ugyen Tshering, Foreign Secretary, Dasho (Dr.) Sonam Tenzin, Director General, Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr. Daw Penjo, Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other senior officials of the Royal Government of Bhutan.
3. Hon. Mr. Narendra Bikram Shah, Minister for Foreign Affairs, led the Nepalese delegation that included Mr. Madhu Raman Acharya, Foreign Secretary, Mr. Madan Kumar Bhattarai, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sushil Jung Bahadur Rana, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, and other senior officials of His Majesty's Government of Nepal.
4. His Majesty the King of Nepal granted audience to the leader of the Bhutanese delegation His Excellency Lyonpo Jigmi Y. Thinley on May 21, 2003 at the Narayanhity Royal Palace. The Bhutanese delegation also called on the Rt. Honourable Lokendra Bahadur Chand, Prime Minister of Nepal, on May 21, 2003 at the Prime Minister's Office.
5. The MJC adopted the report of the work of the JVT, and considered and categorized the unresolved cases. The Categorization was carried out as per the Terms of Reference and guidelines agreed upon during the 10th, 12th and 13th MJCs and the harmonized positions achieved during the 12th MJC (Annex-I). The two Ministers commended the efforts of the JVT in carrying out important responsibilities.
6. The MJC directed the JVT to undertake the Verification and Categorization of the absentees of the Khudunabari camp within two weeks. Following this, the JVT is to officially release and make public the results of the completed categorization at Khudunabari camp.
7. It was agreed that the terms, procedures and facilities regarding voluntary repatriation/reapplication and similar information for those seeking to remain in Nepal would be made known to the camp residents simultaneously by the JVT.
8. The implementation schedule on the outcome of Categorization was also agreed upon. The schedule provides the people to appeal against Categorization within fifteen days after the release of Categorization results. The appeals will be considered only upon the presentation of new material evidence or determination of clear error in the process.
9. The two Ministers expressed their firm resolve to find a lasting solution to the issue of the people in the camps in Nepal through bilateral discussions.
10. The Fifteenth MJC meeting would be held in Thimphu from August 11 to 14, 2003.
11. The two Ministers expressed their gratitude to the previous leaders of the MJC from Nepal and Bhutan for their contributions towards the progress that has been achieved so far.
12. The two Ministers exchanged views on several areas of mutual interest to further promote and strengthen friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries and expressed satisfaction that cooperation between private sectors specially in the fields of trade and tourism was growing.
13. They expressed mutual satisfaction with the progress achieved during the Fourteenth MJC which was held in a very cordial and friendly atmosphere.
1. H.E. the Foreign Minister of Bhutan expressed appreciation for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to his delegation by His Majesty's Government of Nepal. He also extended a cordial invitation to Hon. Narendra Bikram Shah, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, to visit Bhutan to attend the Fifteenth MJC in August. The invitation was accepted with pleasure.
Kathmandu, 21 May 2003