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PR to UN likely not to hold ambassadorial rank

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

KATHMANDU: If parties fail to reach consensus, the government will send its Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York without designating the appointee as ambassador.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha said this “degradation” is intended to escape the constitutional provision of parliamentary hearing for ambassadors before appointment.

Nepal’s UN Mission has been vacated since last September following the resignation of then PR Gyan Chandra Acharya, who quit his job to assume the new UN responsibility of Under Secretary General in UN Headquarters, New York.

“Constitutionally, any ambassador must face parliamentary hearing before nomination, which is not possible in the absence of parliament,” Shrestha said. “In such a context, we are planning to appoint only a permanent representative to the UN, without designating ambassadorial rank to evade the constitutional provision.”

He said Nepal could not be without a permanent representative in the UN for long, given the importance of the post in garnering international support and promoting Nepal in the UN Headquarters. In the absence of a PR, the government had to depute Foreign Secretary Durga Prasad Bhattarai for almost two months in New York to secure Nepal’s bid to be a UN ECOSOC member.

Normally, the PR in the UN holds the portfolio of ‘Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary/Permanent Representative” and is concurrently accredited as Nepal’s Ambassador to Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. In case a person is appointed only as PR, the ambassadorial accreditation to these four countries will be withheld until parliamentary hearing is conducted or the constitutional provision is removed in a legal way.

The most prominent diplomatic outpost, Embassy of Nepal in New Delhi, India has been without an ambassador for almost two years and the embassies in Thailand and Malaysia have been without a chief for more than one year.

Shrestha hoped that political consensus would soon be reached among parties, at least to fill the vacated ambassadorial posts in Nepali missions abroad, and in constitutional bodies back home.

The government had earlier proposed an ordinance to President Ram Baran Yadav to escape the constitutional provision of holding parliamentary hearings of all ambassadors, justices and members of constitutional bodies in the absence of Parliament. The president, however, did not endorse the bill.

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