Remarks by Hon. Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister for Foreign Affairs, at a seminar organized by the Embassy of Israel in Kathmandu to mark the 60th Anniversary of Nepal-Israel relations
Kathmandu, 18 March 2021
His Excellency Hanan Goder, Ambassador of Israel
Dr Shambhu Pokhrel, Chairperson, Center for Diplomatic Dialogue
Amb Dr Jaya Raj Acharya
Amb Arjun Thapa
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Namaskar and Shalom !
It is my pleasure to attend this seminar on Nepal-Israel relations and speak a few words to appreciate and highlight the cordial and cooperative state of our bilateral relations. I thank Ambassador Goder and other organizers of the event for providing me this opportunity today.
Nepal and the State of Israel established diplomatic relations on 1st June 1960. As we are celebrating the milestone of 60 years of our relations this year, I wish to extend, on behalf of the Government and people of Nepal as well as on my own, warmest felicitations to the Government and people of Israel on this special occasion.
I recall with pleasure that Nepal was the first country in the South Asia region to formally recognize the State of Israel by establishing diplomatic relations and hosting Israeli Embassy in Kathmandu. This landmark development constituted the bedrock of a relation which has, over the decades, evolved to become stronger, warmer and friendlier – a relationship enjoyed not only at the governmental level but equally by our two peoples.
Though, as nations, our geographic location and historical evolution are unique, a few common features remain prominent. Both countries are the lands of ancient civilizations and are able to preserve their heritages and way of life despite many adversities. Diversity has remained a hallmark of our cultures and societies. Our common faith in democratic system of governance has created a conducive environment for further nurturing our bilateral ties.
Our relations have continued to flourish over the years. We have continued to cooperate and collaborate on various areas of mutual interests at the bilateral as well as multilateral levels.
Our relations today encompass the ever-expanding sectors and areas of cooperation ranging from employment, human resources development, education and agriculture to development cooperation, technology transfer and energy. Several bilateral agreements, some already concluded and some under consideration, amply demonstrate the deepening relation between our countries.
Cooperation in the area of agriculture has continued to remain one of the most beneficial collaborative endeavors. Under the ‘Learn and Earn’ program, several Nepali youth agriculture students have received regular opportunity to train in Israel.
Following the recent signing of an agreement, we are now cooperating to establish agriculture centers of excellence in Nepal that will be crucial to transfer the state-of-art Israeli technology to the agriculture sector of Nepal. Such cooperation will support the Government of Nepal’s endeavour to modernize agricultural sector as well as improve productivity and strengthen capacity of human resources.
Increased levels of people-to-people contacts have brought our two countries further closer. Contribution of Nepali migrant workers in Israel and Israeli tourists’ choice of Nepal as their preferred destination have played an important role in this regard. We have recently concluded bilateral labour agreement on the employment of Nepali workers in long term care facilities in Israel, which, we believe, has paved way for enhanced cooperation in the labour sector.
I fondly recall the quick humanitarian assistance received from the Israeli Government in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in April 2015. The Israeli doctors as well as experts from the Israel Defence Force provided much needed support in rescue and emergency healthcare. The people and Government of Nepal are ever grateful for support from a friend in the time of need.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we continue our cooperative relation, we have learnt that there exist tremendous potentials for further expanding bilateral cooperation and collaboration in important areas such as environmental protection, trade, investment, agriculture, health, technology transfer, employment, tourism and people to people contacts.
To mark the day, we established diplomatic relations sixty years ago, the Prime Ministers as well as the Foreign Ministers of our two countries over telephone exchanged the greetings and best wishes on 1st June 2020. We expressed our unwavering commitment to work together to further strengthening and consolidating the ties between our two countries.
This milestone in our relationship has inspired us to contemplate and take further step to strengthen and consolidate friendly ties between our two countries and peoples through increased level of engagements and by exploring new avenues of cooperation. We can learn from each other’s experiences and collaborate in many areas of common interest to the mutual benefit of our two countries and peoples.
Nepal is the country of the highest point on Earth, the Mount Everest/Sagarmatha and Israel is the country of the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea. This stark geographical contrast, for example, provides us an opportunity to collaborate in the tourism sector to give visitors a fulfilling and unique experience of ‘once in a lifetime’.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have established a mechanism to hold regular consultations between our two foreign ministries to discuss overall sphere of our relations and explore ways for further cooperation. Recent conclusion of a number of important agreements have provided impetus to further expand and deepen bilateral cooperation and collaboration in various areas. An MoU between Nepal Academy and the Hebrew Writers Association concluded in January last year has opened avenues for cooperation between academia and literary works of both countries. Similarly, conclusion of the agreement on mutual visa exemption in August last year has provided for easier organization of high-level official visits in the future.
A number of agreements for cooperation and collaboration in other important areas such as in the fields of culture, education, science and sports; energy technology and capacity building; and health and medicine are under consideration between our two countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I believe that several events being organized this year and ahead to celebrate the milestone of our relations will complement and contribute towards further consolidating our bilateral ties.
There have been exchanges of several visits, including at the highest levels, between our two countries over the years. Exchange of such visits contribute to the expansion and consolidation of friendly ties and cooperative partnership. I am confident that high-level bilateral visits will be organized soon in the future as we move from the current pandemic situation to normalcy.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are happy to see the great strides Israel has made in the overall advancement of its people and nation over seven decades since its establishment. Israel has achieved unparalleled success in many fields. It has remained at the forefront of scientific invention and technological advancement which have benefited the people all over the world. We wish Israel and its friendly people continuing success and prosperity in the days to come. Nepal is inspired and wants to be benefitted by this cutting-edge technological advancement.
We are encouraged by the unfolding initiatives of recent past to establish sustainable peace in the Arab region. As a peace-loving country, Nepal always welcomes the steps towards peace and do believe that any problem, how complex it may be, can be settled through negotiation.
We have taken positively the concerns and expectations by our Israeli friends. You can observe the new position taken by Nepal during last couple of years on many issues. I hope this will move positively in the days ahead as well.
Finally, as this is a time of global distress and unprecedented adversity posed upon us by the Covid-19 pandemic and also a time of opportunity to forge global cooperation and collaboration, I take this opportunity to express solidarity and best wishes of the Government and people of Nepal to the Government and people of the State of Israel in their efforts to fight and overcome the pandemic.
I would like to conclude by expressing my confidence that Nepal-Israel relations will continue to strengthen and expand in the days ahead.
Long live Nepal – Israel friendship!