PM misleads media on envoys' appointment

Kathmandu, January 28

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal recently misled media on the appointment of ambassadors in vacant Nepali missions abroad.

The PM's remark on Tuesday at his official residence regarding the appointment of envoys in vacant diplomatic outposts not only turned to be misleading, but also deceptive.

"We will fill all ambassadorial positions at once through the next Cabinet meeting," PM Dahal said while responding to a query during a press conference in Baluwatar. "Coalition partners are very close to an agreement in this regard." Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat was also with the PM while the latter said so.

The Cabinet held its regular meeting three days later on Friday. Nevertheless, the meet— presided over by the prime minister himself didn't even discuss the agenda.

"I was expecting the Cabinet to appoint new envoys, but I was surprised when no such decision was taken," the PM's foreign relations adviser Rishi Raj Adhikari told The Himalayan Times. He, however, said that the PM might have changed his mind to award some ambassadorial berths to disgruntled Madhesi parties.

Nepali embassies in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Denmark are currently without chief. Ambassadorial posts in some of these missions have remained vacant for months and even years.

Adhikari claimed that the prime minister had prepared a list of four individuals to be appointed from the quota of CPN-Maoist Centre and had also discussed the names proposed by the Nepali Congress for the ambassadorial positions.

When asked why the Cabinet didn't discuss the issue of ambassadorial appointment in Friday's Cabinet meeting, Foreign Minister Mahat hinted that PM was just throwing dust in the eyes of people. "Since I am the foreign minister, the question should have been directed at me," he said. The reality, however, is that the foreign minister himself has failed to keep his word.

During a media briefing at his office in November, Foreign Minister Mahat said the government was preparing to close its embassy in Denmark. However, the government has decided not to close the mission, instead naming a new envoy there, according to a source close to the prime minister.

Political scientist Prof Lok Raj Baral said such immature statements by leaders are the outcome a habit of 'speaking without thinking'.