KATHMANDU: Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey on Sunday said that the government was doing preparations for the donors’ conference to be held on June 25 in Kathmandu and that there was no clash or differences between them as reported by a section of the media.
Nepal is hosting the Donors’ Conference for the reconstruction of the country in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes.
“Media reports that there was clash between us and there was lack of coordination while sending invitations to neighbouring countries are baseless. The finance minister and I were supposed to go to India and China respectively. But, I cancelled my visit to China after Chinese authorities informed us that Chinese foreign minister will not be able to participate in the conference due to prior engagement,” Pandey told the meeting of
National Disaster Management and Monitoring Special Committee of the Legislature Parliament headed by Speaker Subas Chandra Nembang today.
Finance Minister Mahat said that his ministry had prepared the 300-page Post Disaster Need Assessment, with the help of more than 200 experts divided into 23 sub-panels by working round the clock in view of the conference. “This is the official document of the government detailing the damage and need assessment. This document has created the base to see support from donor countries and inter-country agencies,” Mahat said.
The government has invited 65 countries and inter-governmental agencies, said Finance Mahat, adding: “Of them, 125 delegates of 40 countries and agencies have already expressed their commitment to participate in the conference”. Seven minister-level participants have sent their confirmation to participate in the conference, according to Mahat.
“Initially, donor countries wished to delay the conference to August-September. Citing the devastating earthquake situation, they proposed to hold the conference in New Delhi of India, Tokyo of Japan and Paris of France. They were reluctant to participate in the conference expressing their doubt over the safety of the participants as the situation had not been normal. However, we persistently stood on our stance of holding the conference in Kathmandu and made all arrangements for their safe living during their stay here. Ultimately, the donors were convinced and are expressing their commitment for their participation,” Mahat said.
Mahat said that the government would focus on foreign grant collection, sharing experiences of managing post-disaster situation and solidarity of friendly nations to Nepal’s crisis.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Pandey said that the government wanted to show the international community that the country was safe for tourism and it maintained complete harmony during the national crisis despite having around 125 different communities.
Mahat, responding to a complaint that Russian ambassador in Kathmandu did not get invitation till last Wednesday due to the government’s carelessness, said, “The government, six weeks ago, had emailed all the embassies and ambassadors in Kathmandu, making preliminary request to participate in the conference. The [Russian] ambassador had replied us via email that the country’s representative would not be able to participate in the conference due to pre-scheduled engagement on the conference day. Then, we did not send invitation to him. But, after we heard about the complaint, we have sent an invitation recently.”
Lawmakers including CPN-UML’s Madhav Kumar Nepal, Nepali Congress’s Ramchandra Paudel and Unified CPN-Maoist’s Girirajmani Pokharel, had urged the ministries to clarify the controversies related to the conference and suggested them to make the conference a success.
After listening to the two ministers, panel Chair Nembang instructed the government to take the neighboring countries and donors into confidence and also consultations with all the parties and take their feedback. Nembang also instructed the government to make an arrangement for making the foreign delegates observe the major tourist areas — both damaged and not damaged — independently during their visit to give a message that Nepal is safe for foreign tourists.