Development diplomacy an important aspect of Nepal’s foreign policy: DPM Thapa

Kamal ThapaKathmandu / January 12: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kamal Thapa, has said development diplomacy is an important aspect of Nepal’s foreign policy. Nepal has set a goal of graduating from LDC status by 2022. This goal must be met with Nepal’s national determination and the concomitant support of the international community, he stressed.

At a briefing to the diplomatic community on the current political situation in the country on Tuesday, DPM and Foreign Minister Thapa said Nepal remains fully committed to expanding economic and commercial relations to the foreign countries for mutual benefits.

He said that with the new constitution coming into effect, not only has the long-cherished aspiration of the Nepali people to make a constitution through elected constituent assembly come true; but also Nepal has become the second country in South Asia to make its constitution through democratically elected constituent assembly.

Constitution democratic and inclusive

“Nepal’s new constitution encompasses the main features of a democratic and inclusive polity. Commitment has been expressed in the very Preamble to democratic norms and values, civil liberty, fundamental freedoms, human rights, adult franchise, periodic elections, complete press freedom and an independent, impartial and competent judiciary, and the rule of law. Under the right to social justice, it has been stipulated that socially backward groups and communities shall have the right to employment in state structures and public service on the basis of the principle of inclusion,” said the DPM during the briefing.

He further shed light on the salient features of the constitution as- separate Dalit, Indigenous, Madehsi, Tharu and Muslim Commissions have also been provisioned in this constitution to protect rights and welfare of the respective communities. As a concrete step towards inclusive state structure, the constitution provides that while conducting election of the president and vice-president, the election shall be held so as to represent different gender or communities. Likewise, while electing the speaker and deputy speaker, either speaker or deputy speaker shall be a woman and the two shall belong to different parties. Both the newly elected President of the country and Speaker of the Lower House are female.

Genuine demands of Madhes-based parties will be accommodated

About the discontent of some political parties, especially Madhes-based ones, over some of the provisions of the new statute, the DPM and Foreign Minister made it clear that as this constitution is dynamic in true sense, genuine concerns of agitating parties can and will be addressed through dialogue and the genuine demands will be accommodated in the constitution as required.

Similarly, the diplomatic community was informed that the Government, in response to the demands of agitating parties, has tabled an amendment bill to the Constitution. The proposed amendments aim at addressing the demands of proportional inclusiveness in state organs and delineation of the electoral constituency on the basis of population while maintaining at least one seat in each geographical district.

Regarding the demarcation of provinces, he said it has been agreed that a high level mechanism including representatives of major political parties and agitating parties will be formed which will submit its report within three months.

Supply of commodities improving

The regular supply of commodities that entered the country via the southern border check points is now gradually improving. As Raxaul-Birgunj is the major point of entry of goods, the impact of the situation will linger as long as this point is not made fully operational, said the DPM.

Regarding the continued disruption of supplies, especially medicines, POL products, and food might lead to a humanitarian crisis, the DPM said Nepal has conveyed this concern through constant discussions with the relevant authorities of the Government of India. He hoped that the supply situation would come back to normal with resumption of all border check-pointswithin a few days.

International relations on the basis of sovereign equality

The DPM reminded that the newly promulgated constitution provides that the international relations of Nepal shall be directed towards the protection of national interest by maintaining international relations on the basis of sovereign equality. The government is fully committed to further strengthen Nepal’s relations with neighbouring countries and all other friendly countries on the basis of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, non-alignment, the principle of Panchasheel, international law and the values of world peace. Nepal pursues the policy of friendship with all and enmity with none, he stressed.

Understanding with China, India for the long-term economic relations

“Both with India and the People’s Republic of China understanding has been developed for the long-term economic relations based on mutual benefits. I also recall my recent meeting with Secretary of State and other dignitaries of the United Kingdom during my visit to London last month,” he added.

Moreover, the international community was informed that Nepal continues to give high importance to the role of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security through peacekeeping missions. Nepal remains steadfast in its commitment to support the UN through this flagship activity. It continues to attach unflinching commitment to the fundamental freedoms and human rights. Likewise, Nepal continues to strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Nepal will actively work with international community in advancing global development agenda, taking into account the special needs and concerns of LDCs and LLDCs.

Ministry working to establish a mechanism for substantive dialogue

According to him, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was working on establishing a mechanism for substantive dialogue with Kathmandu-based diplomatic missions on a regular basis. The Ministry has also begun its homework for the appointment of Nepalese Ambassadors.

Similarly, he said with the promulgation of the constitution, Nepal feels that the country is on the right track of peace, democracy and development. Our days ahead, however, are not easy. Political achievements are yet to be underpinned by economic prosperity. The responsibility of socio-economic transformation of the nation and establishment of a just and prosperous society is yet to be realized.

Economic development country’s priority agenda

Informing about the background adverse to country’s economy, DPM and Foreign Minister Thapa said the Government has made the economic development of the country as its priority agenda. The Government is serious about the reconstruction of the infrastructures, both public and private, damaged by the earthquakes.

He informed that the passage of the Reconstruction Authority Act by the Legislature-Parliament and the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer, the Authority has paved a way to accelerate reconstruction activities in the country. The DPM requested generous international support again for accomplishing the vital task of reconstruction.

Support thru government channel stressed

“It is quite evident that, for a country like Nepal with limited financial resources, international support is critical for its development endeavours. At the same time, we strongly feel that such support is required to be provided through government channel in identified areas of priority sector in line with the principle of aid effectiveness. Therefore, we would like to request all donor countries to use government channel for their support and firmly recognize the national leadership and ownership in development efforts rather than channeling such precious resources through non-transparent agencies, NGOs and other entities, for there is a high possibility of such support being used in unproductive sector in an unaccounted and non-transparent manner,” he underscored.

He also hailed continued international support in institutionalizing peace and political changes in Nepal. RSS

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