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As government recalls envoy to Qatar, six of Nepal’s foreign missions are now without ambassadors

  • Officials say they have no idea when new appointments will be made because ‘it’s a political matter’
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Apr 26, 2019-

With the government decision to recall Nepal’s Ambassador to Qatar Ramesh Koirala, six Nepali diplomatic missions have been without their chiefs from Thursday.

The government, however, has yet to initiate the process to fill the vacancies in the missions that have been without the envoys for months.

While approving the new criteria for ambassadorial appointments, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali had announced that the process to appoint ambassadors will start three months prior to the positions falling vacant, to end the haphazard practice of ambassadorial appointments in the past.

The criteria were approved in November last year but they are yet to be implemented. Officials said they have no clues why the new criteria were not implemented, as the entire process “falls under the jurisdiction of the political leadership”.

“The criteria will be followed gradually and appointment of the new envoys will gain momentum after some days,” Kundan Aryal, press adviser to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, told the Post.

After the formation of the new government last year, the Oli administration started recalling ambassadors appointed by Sher Bahadur Deuba and Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led governments and Koirala is the latest target.

Minister for Communications and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Banskota said during the weekly press briefing on Thursday that the government has recalled Ambassador Koirala from Qatar. “Don’t ask the reason,” he said.

Nepali embassies in South Korea, Bangladesh, Spain, Australia and South Africa have been without the ambassadors for months. Nepal’s Ambassador to the United States, Arjun Karki, is also going to complete his term soon.

In December-end, the government had recalled the ambassadors to South Korea, Spain and Bangladesh alleging that their performance was poor.

The Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led coalition had appointed Arjun Bahadur Singh, Bharat Rayamajhi and Chop Lal Bhusal as ambassadors to South Korea, Spain and Bangladesh, respectively, in February 2017.

The ambassadorial post in Australia has remained vacant for one-and-a-half months after Lucky Sherpa was forced to resign following a controversy.

Singh and Bhusal were appointed in the Nepali Congress quota by the Dahal government while Rayamajhi was appointed under the Rastriya Prajatantra Party’s quota.

The Nepali embassy in South Africa has been vacant since last December after Amrit Bahadur Rai was recalled and sent to New York as Nepal’s Permanent Representative and Ambassador to the United Nations.

“We do not know when these missions will get the ambassadors because decisions will be taken at the political level,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Bharat Raj Poudyal told the Post.

However, three ambassadors appointed by the previous government are unlikely to be recalled due to some political reasons, according to sources.

Ambassadors to Japan, Sri Lanka and Oman are likely to stay, said knowledgeable sources.

Nepali Ambassador to Japan Pratibha Rana, who was appointed in the RPP quota, is the mother-in-law of Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur..

Oli and Deuba have already reached a deal in this regard, so she is most likely to continue, multiple sources confirmed to the Post.

Nepali Ambassador to Sri Lanka Bishwambher Pyakuryal, who was appointed in the Nepali Congress quota, is also likely to continue largely due to his professional credentials. Since he is a professional and academician, he won’t be recalled, a ruling party leader told the Post requesting anonymity.

Ambassador to Oman Sarmila Dhakal, who was appointed on the recommendation of the Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar-led Nepal Forum Loktantrik, is also set to continue. She received a national award from the President recently.

Published: 26-04-2019 09:20

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