Hearing of proposed envoys from foreign service concludes

Kathmandu, August 4

The Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee has concluded hearing of all eight ambassadorial nominees picked from the foreign service.

The House panel will decide whether or not to endorse them tomorrow, it is learnt.

The committee today conducted hearing of Lok Bahadur Thapa, joint secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thapa has been named as ambassador to Belgium.

Earlier, on Tuesday and Wednesday, hearing of seven other joint secretaries of was held. They included Sewa Lamsal Adhikari (Pakistan), Tara Prasad Pokharel (Brazil), Prakash Subedi (Austria), Rishiram Ghimire (Russia), Durga Bahadur Subedi (the United Kingdom), Ramesh Khanal (Germany) and Jhabindra Prasad Aryal (Egypt).

During today’s hearing, lawmakers asked Joint Secretary Thapa as to how he would contribute to the country if he were appointed ambassador to Belgium and the European Union.

CPN-UML lawmakers Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal asked him what he would do to check European Union’s ‘interference’ in Nepal’s domestic affairs.

Likewise, Nepali Congress Chief Whip and PHSC member Chin Kaji Shrestha asked him what difference he would make if he were appointed ambassador to European Union and Belgium.

Responding to questions and queries raised by lawmakers, Thapa said he would try to strengthen relations with Belgium and European Union in innovative, proactive and creative ways.

He said he would particularly focus on exploring engagement in areas of bilateral and multilateral trade, investment, technology transfer, development assistance, as well as public diplomacy, among others.

“I believe that diplomacy in the 21st century is not only symbolic. It should be substantive,” he said. “If endorsed as an envoy, I will utilise my experience of 27 years in the diplomatic service to bring visible changes in the best interests of the country.”

The parliamentary committee is in a ‘wait-and-see’ mode for the hearing of other 14 ambassadors proposed by the erstwhile KP Sharma Oli-led government on the basis of their political affinity.

The government on April 19 had named 21 persons for ambassadorial assignments to various countries. One more person was recommended for the ambassadorial berth a few weeks later.

Their hearing could not take place earlier due to delay in forming the PHSC.