Oli to visit Switzerland, the United Kingdom and France next month

  • Officials say the prime minister will, among other things, sign bilateral agreements
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

May 25, 2019-

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is embarking on a weeklong visit to three European countries next month, officials familiar with the prime minister’s plan told the Post on Friday.

According to Kundan Aryal, Oli’s press adviser, the prime minister will visit Geneva, Switzerland; Oxford, United Kingdom; and Paris, France from June 9 to 15. Preparations are under way to finalise the prime minister’s agenda for the trip, said Aryal. Officials at the Foreign Ministry and at the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed to the Post that Oli will embark on the Europe trip.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the Chief of Protocol has already started discussions about the composition of the delegation to accompany Oli on the trip.

In Geneva, Oli will participate in the centenary celebration of the International Labour Organization, where he will

make a statement. After completing his engagements in Geneva, Oli is then scheduled to visit the United Kingdom, where he will deliver a lecture at Oxford University, and meet senior political leaders and officials of the British government. It is unclear whom Oli is scheduled to meet in the UK, as his trip comes amid the resignation of British Prime Minister Theresa May and a subsequent Cabinet reshuffle.

The prime minister will then head to France, where he is expected to meet French officials and witness the signing of two bilateral agreements regarding the establishment of a security printing press in Nepal and the country’s own satellite in an orbital slot provided by the International Telecommunications Union. Both projects are supported by the French government.

In March, Nepal and France had signed two separate memorandums of understanding (MoUs)—one aimed at setting up state-of-art security printing facilities in the country with French assistance, along with concessional financial aid and technical support to operate and manage the country’s own satellite.

In the absence of a dedicated security printing, the government and private firms have been spending billions of rupees annually printing abroad.

Once Nepal sets up its own security printing press, items like passports, banknotes, various smart cards, examination papers, and stickers can be printed in the country itself.

Investment for the two projects is estimated to be around Rs50 billion. Though the final breakdown for the two projects has yet to be ascertained, Communication Ministry officials said it will cost Rs30 billion to set up printing facilities and another Rs20 billion for the satellite project. The MoUs for both were signed during Minister for Information and Communication Technology Gokul Baskota’s visit to France earlier this year.

Published: 25-05-2019 15:26

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