Remarks by Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali at the Dinner hosted for the Diplomatic Community
Kathmandu, 09 July 2018
Ladies and gentlemen.
Saraswati and I have the pleasure to welcome you all to this dinner hosted in your honour. I thank you for joining us this evening.
It has been close to five months since the present Government assumed the responsibility and over three and a half month since I assumed the foreign Ministry portfolio. We have had occasions to meet individually and in other different formats. This evening is dedicated collectively to you and in your honour.
As you are well aware, the Right Honourable Prime Minister has clearly outlined the direction, priorities and behaviour of Nepal’s foreign policy when he shared the Government’s vision for the coming five years with the diplomatic community in March.
‘Amity with all, and enmity with none’remains the soul of our foreign policy. Nepal’s adherence to the principles of the UN Charter, Panchasheel, and the norms of world peace confirms to this. Guided by this spirit, we attach high importance to our relations with all countries and organizations that you represent.
Our policy of engaging constructively with all of our friends and partners has been mutually beneficial. We continue to work closely with our neighbours, major powers, development partners, countries in our extended neighbourhood, labour receiving countries, United Nations and multilateral financial institutions.
I consider this an opportunity for me to express our gratitude to all of our friends and development partners for the close and collaborative partnership that we enjoy. You all have been dependable friends and partners in the high and low that Nepal endured in past two decades. We remain thankful to you all for your continued support and cooperation in Nepal’s development efforts.
In these few months of the Government in office, we have endeavored to enhance mutual trust and promote cooperation with our neighboring countries in the areas of our national priority. We have also renewed our partnership and have been engaging with all friendly countries in different continents.
The recent successful exchange of visits by the Prime Ministers of Nepal and India has contributed to promote trust and goodwill between the two countries and further consolidate bilateral relations.
We have agreed to strengthen ongoing cooperation and expand partnership on the basis of the principles of equality, mutual trust, respect and benefit. We agreed to advance cooperation in the areas of agriculture, railway linkages and inland waterways, among others.
The Prime Minister had a successful visit to our northern neighbor, China. We have agreed to intensify implementation of MoU on cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative to enhance connectivity. The cooperation covers building of dry ports, roads, railways, aviation and communications within the framework of Trans-Himalaya Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network. We believe that this will open up a new era of cross-border cooperation and foster trade, commerce and investment.
In the meantime, we had the honour to host the Prime Minister of Pakistan on a bilateral visit. The visit, taken place after a gap of many years, was successful in cementing the bilateral ties between our two countries.
Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs visited Nepal in early May.
During this period, we have had fruitful bilateral consultation meetings with Brazil, Denmark, EU, Israel, Russia and Switzerland. All of these engagements have been successful in further consolidating the friendly bilateral relations.
In the regional front, we are preparing for hosting the 4th Summit meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sector Economic and Technical Cooperation (BIMSTEC) towards the end of August this year. Different meetings of the technical committees under the SAARC have been held.
Nepal participated in the Ministerial Meeting of the non-aligned movement held in Baku, Azerbaizan and Ministerial Meeting of International Think Tank for LLDCs held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia at the Foreign Minister’s level.
In the same period, three Under-Secretaries General of the United Nations visited Nepal.
As you all know, the motto of the present government is ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’. We know that there are challenges ahead, and realization of this goal is not possible with our efforts alone. In recognition of these challenges as well as the distance we have to travel on our way to prosperity, we expect to be engaged in an enhanced level of economic partnership in trade, investment, technology transfer, and tourism beyond development cooperation.
Maintaining stability, advancing socio-economic transformation, ensuring social justice, good governance and rule of law have been the overarching objectives of the present government. Promoting and adhering to the values and norms of integrity, transparency, and accountability are equally important priorities of the Government. They are applicable to both governmental and non-governmental stakeholders. With regard to the concern related to the draft integrity policy, I may clarify that the Government has no intention of curbing or discouraging the participation of stakeholders, including the civil society organizations, in our development efforts. They have been important partners in development and will continue to remain so.
While we encourage civil society organizations in our development activities, we are also aware of the ‘gaps’ that we need to address. We expect our civil society partners to avoid duplication, contribute in areas that help create jobs and bring tangible benefits to the people, and avoid scattering of scarce resources. Our sole objective isto addressthose gapsso that developmental benefits reach to the people. This has also been the voice of the civil society themselves for long that they function in a transparent and accountable manner. It is but natural for the government to expectthat the civil society partners align their activities with the policy and priorities of the Government so that synergetic effects could be generated in our development efforts.
Our commitment to democracy and the universal values of human rights and fundamental freedoms is total and unwavering.We have reached to this stage with decades of struggle and sacrifices of Nepali peoplefor the cause of democracy and freedom. This Government can never compromise on those achievements and values that we fought for. Respect for diversity and pluralism constitute the very spirit of Nepali society and this Government stands on that foundation. Therefore our commitment to pluralism is absolute.
This year alone will see Nepal’s three different periodic reportsbeing considered by three different human rights treaty bodies.
In March, we hosted Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, and we are preparing for the visit of special rapporteur on the violence against women, and special rapporteur on right to food this year.
Two amendment Bills related to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons are currently under consideration of the Parliament. With the new law in place and terms of the Commissions been extended, this will allow the investigation of all allegations of serious violations of human rights and humanitarian laws and ensure justice and accountability. There will be no blanket amnesty to serious violations of human rights.
We live in a complex and unpredictable world. We share the concerns about the simmeringuncertainties in multilateralism. However, Nepal’s faith in multilateralism remains unshaken. We consider the United Nations as anindispensable organization in multilateral affairs and supportits reform for further strengthening. United Nations is the only legitimate forum to deliberate and resolve the international issues of common concern.
We are encouraged by the adoption of the resolution on repositioning of UN development system by the UNGA recently. This is intended for robust implementation of SDGs. We look forward to the impending repositioning that is aimed at addressing the gaps, building synergy and improving accountability, steering clear from the politicization of development.
Nepal will continue its contribution to the UN Peacekeeping Operations. Our own experience of the peace process may be useful to the countries in transition and those gone through conflict. We would be happy to share our experience as a uniquely successful and home-grown brand of the peace process and contribute to the peace building elsewhere.
We welcome the 2018 Inter-Korea Summit between the leaders of the South and North Korea and resulting thaw on the Korean peninsula. We also welcome the rapprochement between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and hope this will result into denuclearization and a lasting peace in the region.
The pace of reconstruction has moved on satisfactorily. We are close to the final phase of the reconstruction and rebuilding of the individual houses, which we anticipate to be completed in a year. Reconstruction and restoration works of the heritage sites and the public buildings are too moving smoothly that will take some more time to complete. We are grateful to all our friends and partners for their cooperation and generous assistance in this process.
Since the political transition is over and a new era of political stability has emerged in Nepal, our priorities and modalities for engagement demand commensurate adjustments. We are in an early phase of federalization. It is incumbent upon us to make this process successful. The Constitution allocatesthe matters related to foreign relations under the competence of the federal government.It is in this context that we had to devise code of conduct and advise our partners from the diplomatic community to follow the official channel of communications on the mattersofdevelopment partnership. The Ministry of Foreign Affairsremains available to facilitate you in that process.
With these words, I once again welcome you all to this dinner. Allow me to purpose a toast for the continued friendship and cooperation between Nepal and the friendly countries and institutions that you all represent.
I thank you all for your attention.