DPM Thapa to attend Turkey summit

Kathmandu, May 14

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa will represent Nepal instead of Prime Minister KP Sharma in the UN World Humanitarian Summit being held in Istanbul, Turkey from May 23 to 24.

The prime minister’s foreign relations expert Gopal Khanal said the PM wouldn’t attend the first ever global humanitarian conference as he had to be here to sort out domestic political issues.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, during his visit in April, had extended an invitation to PM Oli to participate in the UN-sponsored conclave.

World leaders, including UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon, would discuss pressing humanitarian issues, including the refugee crisis and internal displacement of people after the quakes in Nepal last year, among other things.

Besides the humanitarian challenges posed by the natural as well as the manmade disasters, the summit will also discuss ways to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Tara Prasad Pokharel said Deputy PM Thapa, accompanied by Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi, will leave for Turkey on May 21 to take part in the summit. During the summit, the Nepali side would highlight the humanitarian challenges faced during the devastating earthquakes and the economic blockade, which had left Nepal hapless in the face of shortages of basic medicines, oxygen and fuel, informed a source.

Likewise, the Nepali side would also seek further international support to provide relief to the victims and rehabilitate the displaced people, the source added.

After attending the summit in Istanbul, Thapa is set to join yet another conference in Antalya of Turkey, where a mid-term review of the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries is scheduled for May 27 to 29.

The conference will review of implementation of the IPoA by the LDCs and reaffirm the global commitment to addressing the special needs of LDCs. The IPoA, adopted in May 2011, has set an ambitious goal of graduating half the countries from the poorest club of LDCs by 2020. Currently, there are 48 LDCs.