Finland offers to multiply aid to Nepal by 2.5 times

Rekha Shrestha

Kathmandu, July 7:

Finland, one of the major development partners of Nepal, yesterday offered to increase its development aid to Nepal from about Euro 4 million to 10 million a year, provided the conflict in the country is resolved. Visiting Under-Secretary of State of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pertti Majanen yesterday offered it to the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat, at Shital Niwas. "Pertti wanted to know how and in which areas could Nepal use the aid if it were to be increased," said an official at the ministry. He said Nepal is among the two countries in the Finnish priority list for extending the aid. The visiting diplomat is learnt to have also told the government officials, including Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, that the Finnish government was interested in assisting Nepal in resolving the conflict by investing on rehabilitation of Maoist victims. Quoting Pertti, the official said Finland wanted to help to transform the educational institutions into Zone of Peace.

The Finnish diplomat also met Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, Foreign Secretary Madhu Raman Acharya and Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala, sources said. Foreign secretary Acharya had hosted a lunch reception to honour Pertti. Nepali officials, including PM Deuba, had briefed Pertti on the current situation in the country, said the source. Pertti was in Kathmandu for three days and held meeting with the head of missions of the European Union in Kathmandu today, said the Finnish Embassy officials. Implementation of Finland-funded projects has been "slowed down" due to the Maoist conflict but no project has been aborted till date. Currently the Scandinavian country is assisting Nepal in the areas of primary education, rural water supply and environment.