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I - Statements in exercise of the right of reply

102. In the course of the discussion on agenda items 4 and 5, the representative of Nepal, in his general statement, said that the recent blockade by India of his country had forced the people of the mountain ecosystem to cut down more trees to meet increasing demand for firewood both in rural and urban areas, since the supply of kerosene and LP gas for cooking had been seized. The situation had caused further depletion of the Nepalese forest resources and even protected trees had been cut to meet fuel shortages, thereby destabilizing the fragile slopes of the mountains.

103. The representative of India, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, denied that there was any blockade of Nepal by India. He said goods, both essential and luxury items, were freely moving into Nepal from India and from other countries through two transit points, facilities at Calcutta port, transit routes with other neighbouring countries and intra-Nepal transit routes through India. The transit facilities given by India were more than allowed by international norms. The representative of Nepal had mentioned that deforestation was occurring in Nepal through scarcity of kerosene and fuel. The reasons for the deforestation were well known. It had been

occurring at a rapid rate in Nepal for some time and it was adversely affecting the ecology of India. He concluded by saying that India and Nepal had friendly relations with each other, since they were linked by bonds of culture, religion, history and geography. The Governments of both India and Nepal had declared their intentions to solve their bilateral problems through friendly dialogue. It was improper to have used the forum of the Governing council meeting to make patently false statements about his country.

104. The representative of Nepal, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, reiterated that India's unilateral decision to blockade Nepal affected all aspects of Nepalese life and, more specifically, the development activities and the natural environment of Nepal. Since no petroleum products could enter the country, more forests were being cut down for firewood and the consequent environmental deterioration would affect the Indo-Gangetic plain. He asserted that India's action was unethical and that many people would suffer as a consequence of it.