KATHMANDU: A report prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has suggested that Nepal should open as many as 18 diplomatic missions — 12 embassies and six-consulate general, consulate or consul offices — in countries with which the country has maintained long diplomatic relations.
The report prepared under the coordination of Dhananjay Jha, then senior-most Joint Secretary at MoFA and incumbent Ambassador to the UAE, has suggested opening of embassies (with ambassador-level position) in the Maldives, Bhutan, Turkey, Indonesia, Italy and Spain and six other missions (with acting ambassador-level position) in Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq and Singapore.
Similarly, the document has drawn the attention of the government to establish consulate general, consulate or consul offices in Jeddah of Saudi Arabia, New York of USA, Mumbai of India, Guangzhou of China, Osaka of Japan and Dubai of UAE.
An official, who was part of the 10-member report-preparing committee, told THT that the suggestions were made based on Nepal’s earlier commitments, historical relations with these countries, their importance in regional and international levels, economic and political relations, presence of Nepali community there and prospects of tourism promotion and potential.
The document, however, has not set any deadline to set up the missions. But nonetheless, it says the priority should be set based on need of consulate services to be provided to the Nepalis in foreign countries, economic and commercial relations, regional association and brotherhood among SAARC nations, political-economic relations and prospects of foreign investment.
The report has estimated annual operation cost to be $500,000 (Rs 45 million) for each embassy and $400,000 (Rs 36 million) for each consulate general or consulate office.
The report though attributes the need for opening new embassies to presence of Nepali community in foreign lands, it is interesting as to why it has recommended embassies (with ambassador-level position) in Italy, Spain and Turkey where number of Nepali people is relatively low. In addition, the Nepalis in these countries are faring comparatively well due to these countries’ better policy for expatriates.
In addition, it has recommended embassies with acting ambassadors in countries like Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon where Nepali migrant workers quite often need consular services as these countries have been reported to have failed to maintain human rights tracks.
The 13-page document has been submitted to Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Foreign Secretary Durga Prasad Bhattarai.
MoFA Spokesperson Arjun Bahadur Thapa said more deliberations were required before sending it for the consent from the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of General Administration. Then it will be sent to the Cabinet for the final nod, said Thapa.LEKHANATH PANDEY republica