Foreign Ministry to deploy officers to all provinces to ensure provincial officials abide by diplomatic codeThe move follows criticism that chief ministers and ministers were holding meetings with foreign diplomats and dignitaries without informing the ministry.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is all set to dispatch newly recruited officials to all the seven provinces to ensure that chief ministers, ministers and officials abide by diplomatic code of conduct while meeting with foreign dignitaries.
The move follows criticism that provincial leaders were failing to comply with the diplomatic code of conduct.
A team of Finance, Foreign and General Administration Ministries had conducted an organisation and management survey, and accordingly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had proposed new posts under it.
The organisation and management survey is conducted to identify and ascertain the number of staff—non-gazetted to joint-secretary level—the ministries or offices require.
Earlier, the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development had sent several circulars to the provincial governments to ensure that officials took permission from it or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before meeting with foreign dignitaries.
After provincial governments repeatedly failed to abide by the circular, the government had decided to dispatch Foreign Ministry officials to provinces to ensure that provincial officials follow the diplomatic code, conduct and practices, according to officials.
The newly recruited seven officials have already completed training at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and are now taking part in yet another set of a training course at the Staff College.
After compleating the three-month training, they will be sent to all seven provinces.
They will coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kathmandu from offices of chief ministers about meetings of the provincial officials with foreign dignities, diplomats and officials.
Bharat Raj Poudyal, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, told the Post that new officials to be deployed in provinces have already been given their terms of reference. “They will support the provincial governments on various protocol-related matters. Besides, they will coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on matters like meetings with foreign representatives and officials,” said Poudyal.
The officials will apprise the chief ministers, ministers and senior officials of the diplomatic code, practices and protocol.
Officials at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, however, said they were not aware of such preparations.
“We are not informed about the Foreign Ministry’s decision to deploy its officials in provinces. Probably they are talking about the new organisation and management survey and creating new posts under the ministry,” said Yadav Koirala, a secretary at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development.
Koirala is one of the government officials who are for removing the ‘foreign service’ category of the civil service and amending the Civil Service Act to ensure anyone from other services gets to become the foreign secretary.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs introduced a Diplomatic Code of Conduct in 2011 with the objective of conducting official meetings, contacts, negotiations and communications of the government of Nepal with foreign governments, international organisations, their representatives and other officials in a more systematic and dignified manner, consistent with diplomatic norms and international practices.
But the ministry has not prepared a separate diplomatic code of conduct after Nepal adopted the federal system following the three-tier elections in 2017.