21 foreign missions to be without chiefs in a month

  • Posting delayed as parties stake claim to berths
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Apr 8, 2016-

For the first time in Nepal’s diplomatic history, 21 out of the country’s 33 foreign missions, including consulate general offices, are likely to be without their heads within a month.

Officials said that keeping missions without ambassadors for long could seriously affect bilateral relations at a time when some countries have already expressed their concerns over the delay in appointments.

While both Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa are well aware of the vacancies and its ramifications, officials said it would take at least another month to appoint the envoys as the shares of political appointees and career diplomats have not been divided.

According to a senior Foreign Ministry official, career diplomats may get eight seats at most while the 13 will be filled through political appointment.

Ministers and senior officials from the United Kingdom, Germany, Bahrain and Qatar, among other countries, have enquired with Nepal’s officials about the ambassadorial vacancies, criticising the practice of leaving some Nepali missions under a section officer’s care.

Countries in the Middle East have mostly raised serious questions about the lapse. The appointments have not been made due to a lack of understanding among the ruling parties, claims over lucrative missions by the ruling CPN-UML, UPCN (Maoist) and the RPP-Nepal, a long list of aspirants and the absence of the parliamentary hearing committee.

The UML claims seats in Japan and China, the Maoists in China while the RPP-Nepal is demanding its quota for the United Kingdom and two other missions. Every single party in government is seeking at least one ambassadorial post.

Foreign Relations Expert to the PM Gopal Khanal said that chances of ambassador appointment are unlikely over the next three weeks.

DPM Thapa is heading for the United States later this month on a weeklong visit. An official said this could also defer the appointments.

Published: 08-04-2016 07:30

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