PM may skip UN meet to visit ChinaDahal’s General Assembly address date coincides with the opening of Asian Games.
US Ambassador Dean Thompson is learnt to have met Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Thursday. One of the envoy’s motives for the meeting was to confirm whether the prime minister would attend the upcoming 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, according to sources at the prime minister’s private secretariat.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has no information about the meeting.
According to the secretariat sources, the US envoy, besides other bilateral issues, inquired about the prime minister’s plans for the upcoming UN General Assembly in New York, as there might be a potential overlap with his scheduled visit to China. If the prime minister visits New York, he could meet top US leaders and officials on the sidelines.
This year’s United Nations General Assembly will take place from September 18 to 26, even as Dahal plans to head to China around the same time to attend the opening of the 19th Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou City as a guest. The Games will be held from September 23 to October 8.
Nepal’s permanent mission in New York had earlier registered the prime minister’s name on the speakers’ list and confirmed that he would address the morning session of the UNGA on September 22.
Now, as the dates of the two events seem to be clashing, the prime minister is reportedly considering skipping the New York trip and instead attend the Asian Games in China’s Hangzhou—if the Nepali side cannot reschedule the prime minister’s address in New York to an earlier date, two sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Post.
While the UN has allotted September 22 for the prime minister’s address, Nepal’s permanent mission in New York is trying to reschedule the address to an earlier date, according to Nepali diplomatic officials privy to the development.
“If they manage to reschedule the date of the prime minister’s address to a date before September 22, the prime minister will visit New York and then directly fly to China,” said the officials.
A month and a half ago, Dahal had told Parliament and also during a television interview, that he was going to China and the US. Now he is considering skipping the New York event if feasible dates are not available for his address, said officials privy to the development.
“However, no decision has been taken yet,” Govinda Acharya, press adviser to Dahal said. The prime minister is consulting Foreign Minister NP Saud on the matter.
If the Nepali side is unable to secure an earlier date, then someone else will have to address the UNGA on the country’s behalf, according to foreign ministry officials.
In that case, one of the two deputy prime ministers—Purna Bahadur Khadka and Narayan Kaji Shrestha—and Foreign Minister Saud could represent Nepal at the UNGA, said an official privy to the development.
Since Nepal, as the current SAARC chair, has to arrange a meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers, which is an informal meeting of the foreign ministers of the SAARC countries, on the UNGA sidelines, Foreign Minister Saud could lead the Nepali delegation to New York, said officials.
During an interview aired on Kantipur Television on June 22, the prime minister declared that he would visit China as well as the US. He also made a similar commitment while speaking in Parliament after completing his May 29-June 2 India visit. “My India visit was highly successful and I can claim that my China visit will also be very successful. After China, I will visit the US to participate in the United Nations General Assembly and there is a possibility of meeting some US leaders as well,” the prime minister had said in the TV interview.
“As of now, we have inscribed the prime minister’s name to attend the UN General Assembly and we are making preparations accordingly,” said Sewa Lamsal, the foreign ministry spokesperson.