Thapa in UK to ‘mend fences’Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa is on a visit to the United Kingdom from Tuesday amid visible strains in bilateral ties between the two countries.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa is on a visit to the United Kingdom from Tuesday amid visible strains in bilateral ties between the two countries.
Mending ties will be Thapa’s top agenda during the visit that is taking place to celebrate the Bicentenary of Nepal-UK relations.
Nepal-UK relations have been on a low of late. More recently Nepal’s refusal to give UK permission to bring in its Chinhook helicopters for rescue and relief after the April earthquake and a joint statement issued by Indian and British prime ministers on November 12, which made a categorical mention of Nepal’s constitution stressing on importance of making it inclusive, have not gone down well on both sides.
Nepal immediately reacted over the statement, saying that Nepal has been able to promulgate a new democratic and inclusive constitution through an elected Constituent Assembly after a rigorous democratic exercise of about eight years. Later on Nov 19, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire, called on DPM Thapa, and held positive and constructive discussion, according to a British Embassy statement. Nepal’s political establishment saw the phone call as an effort to mend ties.
The foremost job of Minister Thapa in the UK will be to clarify misgivings about Nepal’s new constitution, said a foreign ministry official. Thapa is also expected to raise the issue of Nepal Army Colonel Kumar Lama who is standing trial in a UK court on two counts of human rights violations in Nepal. Lama had called Thapa from the UK on Monday and requested him to raise his case with British officials, said sources.
Similarly, British cooperation with Nepal and other regular issues will feature in the meeting.
During his stay in the UK, Thapa will meet his British counterpart, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire, DFID Minister Desmond Swayne and members of British Parliament among others.