US official visiting Nepal to counter ‘disinformation’Washington had accused external actors of misleading Nepalis on MCC Nepal compact.
Acting Assistant Secretary for Global Public Affairs Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau is arriving in Kathmandu on Wednesday. Besides visiting Nepal, she will travel to the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and the Kyrgyz Republic, the US State Department has announced.
“Her 12-day trip will prioritise working with US diplomatic missions on policy and messaging priorities, including countering disinformation from Russia and the People’s Republic of China, ongoing US support to the people of Afghanistan, social equity, media freedom, and climate,” the State Department said in a statement.
The visit is taking place two weeks after Li Zhanshu, head of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress, returned home after completing his Nepal visit.
According to the US Embassy in Kathmandu, Trudeau does not have any political meetings with party leaders and government officials during her stay in Kathmandu. She will be arriving in Nepal from Pakistan on a two-day trip.
“The visit by Trudeau is purely internal and no meetings are planned with political party leaders and officials. She will hold meetings with officials inside the US Embassy,” an official at the US Embassy said. She heads the public affairs unit of the State Department.
Ahead of Nepal’s parliamentary ratification of the Millennium Challenge Nepal Corporation (MCC) Nepal Compact, the United States accused some external forces of trying to create misinformation and disinformation against the $500 million MCC grant to Nepal.
According to a Nepali diplomat, Trudeau looks after public diplomacy, handles media, initiates track-two diplomacy and works for shaping public opinion in favour of the US government.
“One after another visit from the United States shows Nepal is their priority, and they are also coming here openly and vocally. What they are saying publicly, they are doing it publicly,” the Nepali diplomat said.
“They think some country worked hard to create disinformation against the US ahead of the MCC Nepal compact’s ratification, and the US wants to counter such manoeuvres.”
Trudeau will meet government officials and civil society leaders, foreign media outlets and press, influencers, students, journalists, and US public diplomacy sections, the statement added.
Meanwhile, a senior official at the Prime Minister’s Office said the visiting official should know and understand that Nepal is scheduled to hold the elections in November and this is not a right time to visit the country.
The State Department said Acting Assistant Secretary Trudeau will meet with minority group activists, media contacts, and Embassy exchange program alumni for roundtable discussions on disinformation and the media's role in a democracy. “She will also tour Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation sites in Kathmandu.”