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Development

Nepal Announces Bus Services to Tibet

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 2004/07/30; July 30, 2004.]

Kathmandu, July 30 (IANS) :

Landlocked Nepal is planning direct bus services to Tibet - the first such service for the kingdom with a region other than India.

Nepal's state-owned transport company Sajha Yatayat has announced it will start direct bus services from Kathmandu to Lhasa from September.

However, it remains to be seen if the transport company can live up to its promise.

China and Nepal had agreed, as long ago as 1994, to start a public transport service along the 873 km highway, linking Kathmandu and Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The following year, both countries agreed to start a trial run but it did not materialise.

Talks about direct bus services between the two capitals came up again recently in the wake of an agreement signed between India and Nepal for direct bus services between select Nepalese and Indian cities.

Of late, China has stepped up its drive to better ties with Nepal. Also in the pipeline are plans to allow Nepalese airlines to connect Nepal and Tibet. Currently, Air China flies between Kathmandu, Beijing, Lhasa, Shanghai and Ghanghou.

China's image in Nepal was tarnished by a worldwide furore over the deportation of a group of Tibetan refugees by the Nepalese government, apparently under pressure from Beijing.

This month, there was further outcry at the news that two Nepalese had been sentenced to death for alleged drug smuggling.

The condemned men's families, protesting their innocence, started a signature campaign in Kathmandu for their release. Consequently, China said the men would be put on retrial but warned that the incident should not be used to attack its judicial system.


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