Poor diplomacy spills over into New YorkNepal’s domestic politics, which is mired in constant bickering and one-upmanship, has spilled over into New York, thanks to what may be summed up as “clerical carelessness” and “diplomatic drubbing”.
Nepal’s domestic politics, which is mired in constant bickering and one-upmanship, has spilled over into New York, thanks to what may be summed up as “clerical carelessness” and “diplomatic drubbing”.
It all started right after Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba arrived in New York to participate in the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly. On Wednesday, Madhu Marasani, Nepal’s Consular General in New York, posted a photo on Twitter, saying: “Welcoming Rt. Hon. PM Sher Bdr Deuba at JFK. The PM arrived New York leading the Nepali delegates for 72nd UNGA [sic].” Durga Prasad Bhattarai, Nepal’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN, and other officials accompanied Marasini at the John F Kennedy Airport.
Nepal’s Ambassador to the United States Arjun Bahadur Karki, however, was conspicuous by his absence. Karki was not seen even during the major segments of the UNGA which PM Deuba and DPM and Foreign Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara attended.
Two members of the Nepali diaspora in the US, who are closely following the PM-led delegation’s visit, told the Post that they “have never seen such ‘hopeless diplomacy’ by Nepali officials in the US”, which has been largely attributed to serious differences between officials in Kathmandu, Washington DC and New York “because of political rivalry at home”.
Karki was appointed Nepal’s ambassador to the US under the CPN-UML’s quota and some officials the Post spoke with said “he is not cooperating with the prime minister and the deputy prime minister”.
As per the protocol, it is mandatory for an ambassador to welcome the prime minister and the foreign minister. “I welcomed the prime minister at the hotel because [airport] authorities permit only very few officials,” Karki said. “I am doing my best in the capacity of Nepal’s ambassador here,” he added.
As if it was not enough, DPM and Foreign Minister Mahara could not meet US President Donald J Trump on the sidelines of the UNGA, thanks to a minor lapse on
the part of Nepali officials in New York.
The officials who are part of the PM-led delegation in New York told the Post over phone that an invitation was extended in the name of President Bidya Devi Bhandari but Nepal’s permanent mission in New York “failed to RSVP” to inform the concerned US offices regarding the presence of DPM and Foreign Minister Mahara instead of President Bhandari.
Mahara, it is learnt, had waited for around half an hour for his meeting with Trump, but it could not materialise after US protocol officials refused to give him entry “because he was carrying an invitation in the name of President Bhandari” and they were not informed about that. “DPM Mahara could not meet the US president due to some procedural lapses,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Bharat Raj Poudyal told the Post.