U.S. Department of State
Statement by Richard Boucher, Spokesman
January 10, 2001
Nepal and Bhutan Move to Resolve Refugee Problem
The United States is pleased to note that Nepal and Bhutan are moving to implement their recent agreement to resolve the longstanding problem of nearly 100,000 persons claiming refugee status from Bhutan who have been hosted by Nepal in refugee camps during the past decade. On January 4, in accordance with an agreement signed in Kathmandu on December 28, each country named five-member expert teams that are scheduled to visit the camps next week to begin the process of verification and repatriation of those found eligible to return to Bhutan.
The United States has encouraged Nepal and Bhutan to resolve this refugee issue fully and fairly, and we applaud their recent measures to do so. We have long been a major contributor, through the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Program, to the humanitarian needs of these people. We plan to continue working with all concerned parties, at their request, to facilitate the just resolution of this longstanding humanitarian problem.
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