Kathmandu, July 17
Nepal and Germany have signed joint declaration of intent on the Establishment of Bilateral Consultation Mechanism whereby joint political consultations between the two foreign ministries will be held annually.
Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ghanashyam Bhandari and visiting Commissioner for South Asia at German Federal Foreign Office, Markus Potzel signed the document on behalf of their respective governments yesterday.
“The consultations will be complementary to the bi-annual consultations on development cooperation led by the Nepali Ministry of Finance and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development,” Potzel said at a joint press conference organised at German Embassy in Kathmandu today.
Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi welcomed Potzel to the first joint political consultation between the two foreign ministries, yesterday. On the occasion, Bairagi recalled his visit to Berlin in summer 2018, where he was received by Vice Minister Niels Annen at the German Foreign Office.
The two sides stressed the need for intensifying trade and foreign direct investment linkages, and they welcomed efforts to promote the German private sector’s interest in investments in Nepal.
The German side welcomed efforts to foster an open investment climate in Nepal and pledged support for its ongoing reform measures. Both sides underlined the need for speedy decisions on concrete economic engagements. Germany also pledged support to promote Nepal’s tourism sector not only in the context of its Visit Nepal-2020 campaign but also in the long-run. The two sides also reviewed the international and regional situation. They agreed on the need to foster rule-based multilateralism and regional cooperation.
“The two sides acknowledged climate change as one of the most serious existential threats to humanity and agreed to promote collaboration, both at bilateral and multilateral levels,” said Potzel.
With regards to both countries’ membership in the UN Human Rights Council, the Germany appreciated Nepal’s progress in guaranteeing basic human rights as enshrined in the 2015 constitution. The German side also appreciated Nepal’s unique and home-grown peace process and expressed hope that remaining works would be concluded soon.
“We appreciate the justice ministry’s efforts to conduct broad consultations for amending transitional justice laws,” said Potzel.
The two sides underlined significance of exchanging high-level visits in further cementing friendly ties and promoting collaborative partnerships in the areas of mutual benefits. The two sides were also looking forward to the visit of Vice-minister of German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development Norbert Barthle, to Kathmandu in October.
The two sides also welcomed the signing of a 24.3 million Euros financial agreement on July 5, which will serve to upgrade maternal care facilities in Kathmandu valley, the provision of solar energy in remote areas, as well as establishment of specific credit lines for start-up enterprises in semi-urban and rural areas. Germany also pledged additional four million Euros for technical cooperation to further upgrade the use of solar energy in order to tackle the challenges of climate change and energy security in Nepal.
The two sides also welcomed the imminent conclusion of an agreement which will allow diplomats’ spouses to take on gainful employment in the host country while the family is posted there.
The two sides also welcomed the prospects for an upcoming cooperation between the University of Hamburg (Germany), and two institutions in Nepal for the preservation of the oldest surviving Sanskrit manuscripts, according to a joint press release.
Potzel, who was on a two-day visit to Nepal from July 16 to 17, said his visit aimed at upgrading relations between Germany and Nepal.
During the visit, Potzel called on Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal and Minister of Communications and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Baskota.
A version of this article appears in print on July 18, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.