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Venezuela episode angers the US

By Our Reporter

The controversial statement issued by NCP chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal on the issue of Venezuela has pushed the government and the NCP to a defensive position. The US sought clarification from Nepal’s ambassador to US Arjun Karki on the statement whereas the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had to issue another statement. Although the Foreign Ministry issued a balanced statement clarifying the government’s stance on the issue, it was not sufficient to correct the damaged caused by Dahal’s statement.
As a result, a sort of rift has emerged between Nepal and US which were enjoying cordial relations for 65 years. It was also evident from the boycott of the meeting of the diplomats called by the government by the US ambassador to Nepal on Friday.
The US has been providing support to Nepal since long whereas Nepal has no formal relations with Venezuela. But forgetting this fact, Dahal issued the statement criticising the US in an undiplomatic way, which has put the government as well as the NCP in a difficult position.
However, instead of pacifying the tension, the NCP seemed to have further ignited the situation as its secretariat meeting on Monday said that Dahal’s was the official statement of the party.
The rift between the US and Nepal has surfaced when the UN, US and the EU have raised questions about the conclusion of the post-conflict peace process.
The government on the one hand has been trying to persuade the western power that all the victims of the conflict period would get justice, on the other hand it has to spend energy to normalise its relations with the US.
The government has said that the present leadership had the capacity and willingness to conclude the remaining work of the peace process with a renewed commitment.
It also urged the representatives of the friendly nations to trust the government commitment, willingness and capacity to close this chapter forever in the spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA).
“If Nepali leadership could resolve unthinkable hardcore political issues to arrive at this stage, there is every reason to believe that the leadership has also the ability and willingness to complete this final leg,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali at a briefing to the diplomatic community on Friday. Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and Finance Minister Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada were present in the meeting.
The government has urged the friendly nations to walk together with Nepal in order to ensure economic progress in the country.
It asked for their support in the upcoming International Investment Summit slated for 29-30 March this year. But if US is not convinced, the investment summit is doomed to fail.
He emphasised that the government and international partners must create a success story together ensuring that valuable resources are best utilised in priority sectors of development and reach the real needy people through established budgetary system.
Minister for Finance Dr. Yuba Raj Khatiwada updated the diplomats with the policy reforms implemented in the past years and said that the government would ensure the safety of investment and maintain a favourable investment climate.
The briefing, organised to share the Government’s major policies, priorities and diplomatic engagements, was the third of its kind since the present Government was formed about a year ago.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has assured the diplomats that the government was serious about protecting foreign investment and ensuring a business-friendly environment.

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