(MountEverest.net) In a phone call with ExWeb three hours ago (11 pm US Mountain Time) the Nepal Ministry of Tourism said it had not reached a decision regarding permits yet.
Yet at 2 am a message from a high official in the Ministry arrived, pointing to a Press Release issued by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation stating that no restriction will apply to any expedition in Nepal including Mt. Everest.
The official press release states:
"The Ministry of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation(MoCTCA) issuing a press statement on March 18, 2008 denied the claim that it has suspended the mountaineering expedition to Mt. Everest saying that the dissemination of false information quoting the ministry in this issue has drawn the attention of MoCTCA."
"MoCTCA in its press statement said that the Ministry has not banned climbing expedition on Mt. Everest and other Himalayan peaks and the policy related to mountaineering expeditions has remained same as previous. Issuing the press statement, Spokesperson of MoCTCA, Joint Secretary Mr. Prem Kumar Rai has requested all media to contact spokesperson of the ministry for the fact before disseminating the information concerning with the Ministry."
As the first, publicly published statement by Nepal's officials, this information should probably be treated as fairly accountable.
Sunday, climbers and staff walked to the Ministry and demanded clear answers. In a phone call with ExWeb, the Ministry stated it would reach a decision within two days.
Last week the Nepalese Tourism Minister reportedly told Reuters that climbers will be banned from going beyond Everest's base camp until 10 May. Voice of America was told that the south side ban concerned climbing above BC between May 1-10.
Tuesday, the ban was partially denied by Prem Rai, spokesman at Nepal's culture, tourism and civil aviation ministry who however acknowledged, "to prevent overcrowding on the summit, we are coordinating with the expeditions from the Nepal side so that the final attempts to reach the top are made after May 10."
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