KATHMANDU: Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha today expressed reservations on issue of nationalism at this juncture of history.
Shrestha was responding to queries regarding the reported growing concern of foreign interference in Nepal’s internal affairs after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly.
He, however, was quick to add that Nepal will not compromise its nationalism to any foreign power and was able to handle all challenges with concerted effort.
“Given the direction in which this region is heading, I don’t say there are
no challenges to our nationalism,” Shrestha said, while responding to journalists’ queries upon his arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport from a three-day visit to Bangladesh.
“By saying this, however, it does not mean that we can’t deal with this issue. For this, we all have to adopt a concerted approach rather than blaming one to another.”
“As a foreign minister, I can say that there shall be no compromise on the issue of nationalism, territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he added.
On a different note, Shrestha said he would not quit the government merely because he has differences with PM Bhattarai for signing the Bilateral
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) with India in October 2011.
“If the country wants me or my party demands, then I shall quit the government at any time,” he said. “However, I don’t think I would put in my papers over the issue of BIPPA.”
Shrestha went Dhaka on Saturday, leading a five-member delegation to attend the United Nations Conference for People’s Empowerment and Development, organised by the Government of Bangla-desh from August 5-6.
Addressing the conference, the deputy prime minister underlined the need for concerted international efforts to create inclusive society that promotes harmony and peace and takes care of special needs of the ethnic minorities, indigenous tribes who have been historically excluded from the mainstream.
According to Shrestha, he also stressed that peace, freedom, stability and development can be achieved by working together in true spirit of partnership. He further emphasized that the ultimate goal of human society would be possible by filling the gaps between the haves and have nots, the developed and the underdeveloped and the powerful and the powerless.
Shrestha also held separate meetings with with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Dipu Moni about the bilateral relations — ranging from trade to transit, economic cooperation to investment, tourism to visa regime.
Both Hasina and Moni were supposed to have proposed to form a joint mechanism, bilateral or trilateral, including Nepal, Bangladesh and India to generate hydropower in Nepal and procure it to mitigate increasing Bangladeshi energy demand. To which, Shrestha responded positively by saying that Nepal would further discuss the matter politically, diplomatically and technically in coming days.
Bangladesh wanted to be a partner in investing the Saptakoshi High Dam with Nepal and India to generate about 3000 MW electricity. Shrestha said Nepal was expecting Bangladesh would use Phulbari-Banglabandha land route to facilitate Nepal’s trade with Bangladesh and other
Bangladesh is the only South Asian neighbour with whom Nepal has a positive trade balance for years.