US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland arrives todayThe diplomat will engage with the new government on the broad agenda of the US partnership with Nepal.
The US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland will arrive in Kathmandu on Sunday evening on a two-day official tour. Nuland will be the senior-most foreign dignitary to visit Nepal following Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s appointment as the prime minister on December 25 last year.
During her seven-day travel itinerary, Nuland will be touring Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, and Qatar between January 28 and February 3, as per a statement issued by the State Department spokesperson. In Nepal, Nuland will engage with the new government on the broad agenda of the US partnership with Nepal, the statement added.
Nuland will be the senior-most US official to come to Kathmandu after the visit in May last year by US Under Secretary for Civilian Security - Democracy and Human Rights, Uzra Zeya. Nuland is a seasoned American diplomat who has worked with three American presidents—Joe Biden, Barack Obama and George W Bush.
She will meet senior government officials, including Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Foreign Minister Bimala Rai Paudyal, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli. Before wrapping up her Nepal visit, she will interact with journalists too.
In a bid to engage and interact with the new government in Kathmandu, the Biden administration is tasking its officials with inquiring about the latest situation in Nepal and taking an update on the progress being made in the US-funded projects in Nepal as well as learning about issues of strengthening democracy, human rights and promoting refugee welfare.
Meanwhile, Samantha Power, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) who also holds a Cabinet rank in the US order of precedence, will arrive in Kathmandu on February 5, according to sources. The official announcement of her Nepal visit is yet to be made.
According to US officials, Washington has set some priorities for Nepal.
During an interaction with journalists on January 12, US ambassador to Nepal Dean Thompson said that his country attaches top priority to implementing the MCC Nepal compact, not least because he had received encouraging feedback from various stakeholders for its timely implementation.
But US officials and officials from MCA-Nepal have also expressed concerns over hindrances created at the project sites in Ratamate of Nuwakot and Dang, where road expansion and upgrade and construction of transmission lines under the compact are ongoing.
The $500 million project is set to enter into force from August with the US government wanting to ensure it is executed without any further hindrances.
Nepal government officials said that in addition to regular matters, top US priority is to ensure an unhindered implementation of the MCC in Nepal.
The project should be completed within five years. Furthermore, the US has also extended another $659 million or more than Rs85 billion economic assistance through the USAID for another five years.