Nepal will not seek SAARC's alternative: Foreign Minister Gyawali

KATHMANDUMinister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali has said currently Nepal's foreign policy is focused on neighbours, regional organisations, multilateral organisations and labour destinations.

During a meeting with media editors today in Kathmandu, Minister Gyawali made it clear that the bases of foreign relations were sovereign equality, non-interference, mutual respect and benefit. "Now onward, internal politics never becomes an agenda of bilateral discussion," he underscored, adding that although nature and culture were the major focus areas of Nepal's tourism, Nepal's home-driven peace process should also be given due publicity.

According to Minister Gyawali, it was a bad omen that Nepal was incurring a huge trade deficit to China and India. The relation with India, which was at unease earlier, has now been balanced, the Foreign Minister claimed.

He informed that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli would visit China in the second week of June. During the visit, concrete works would be carried out relating to the cross-border transmission line, trade and transit, aviation, pipeline, Tokha-Chhahare tunnel and the projects under the BRI, he stressed.

Voicing concern about the postponement of SAARC summit, he clarified that Nepal was not in favour of seeking an alternative to SAARC. He also informed that there was a plan to hold BIMSTEC Summit within this year, and process was on for Nepal to become the supervisor for the dialogue partner of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Nepal development partners have been urged to invest and help for development of the country, he said.

Likewise, he said, efforts were on to sign labour agreement with various labour receiving countries, and to facilitate the welfare of Nepali migrant workers' there and create environment conducive for them to send their earnings back home, he said.

Similarly, efforts were on to make a diplomatic code of conduct and set criteria for ambassador appointment, and review situation of Nepal's ambassadors and diplomatic commissions, he said.

He expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations, while saying relations between Nepal and India would reach a historic level if things move ahead this way.