Bhutan has agreed to resume ministerial level bilateral talks with Nepal to discuss on the issue of its citizens who are languishing as refugees in Nepal, according to Kuenselonline. During a short meeting with the Nepalese PM, Madhav Kumar Nepal yesterday in Thimpu, Prime minister of Bhutan, Jigme Y. Thinley expressed Bhutan’s willingness to put an end to the refugee problem through bilateral dialogue between these two neighbors.
There has not been any official talks between them after fifteen rounds of Nepal-Bhutan ministerial level dialogues that were held in different times in the past failed to find a concrete solution to the refugee crisis.
More than one hundred thousand Bhutanese citizens of Nepali ethnicity had been living in seven UNHCR administered refugee camps in Jhapa and Morang district in Eastern Nepal, out of which Thirty thousand have so far been resettled in western countries including the United States, Australia among others. Lately the UK also has expressed its willingness to resettled at least one thousand Bhutanese in its land with in this year.
Sources say that during the meeting, Mr. Nepal also requested the government of Bhutan to repatriate the remaining refugees in the camps.
At a separate press conference in Thimpu, Bhutanese Minister in-charge of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Khandu Wangchuk said that the Bhutanese refugee problem is a bilateral issue and that both the governments have to work together to find a lasting solution. “This is a difficult problem and we are constantly discussing all options and we will continue to talk”, Wanchuk said in response to a query of an American journalist on Tuesday.