Twists and turns in Nepal-US diplomatic relations

KATHMANDU: The Foreign Affairs Ministry of Nepal on Friday organised a briefing to the diplomatic community here. US Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry's conspicuous absence to the government's briefing managed to raise some eyes following the ruling party's co-chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal's recent statement on Republic of Venezuela's current state-of-affairs followed by the government's formal statement in line with the former's views.

However, the embassy later stated in an e-mail that their plans had been communicated, in advance, regarding the American attendance at the event to the foreign ministry.

The event, third of its kind after the KP Sharma Oli-led government was formed a year ago, was attended by representatives — ambassadors and deputy chiefs of missions — from all diplomatic missions.

The US Embassy in Kathmandu was represented by its Deputy Chief of Mission Michael C Gonzales.

Meanwhile, It has come to light that Officials at US State Department had sought an explanation from Nepali Ambassador to US Arjun Karki, following the statement issued by the Nepal Communist Party Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal on January 25, supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and denouncing ‘intervention in internal affairs’ of Venezuela by the US and its allies.

It has been learned that Karki was asked to submit clarification by senior officials from the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the State Department.

Washington officials had told Karki that the US did not expect such statement from the leader of the ruling NCP (NCP) without any background on the internal affairs of Venezuela.

However, Nepal government made clear its position on the political crisis in Venezuela as Ministry of Foreign Affairs on January 29, issued statement  that read, “In line with its principled position, Nepal believes that internal political problems of a country need to be resolved within its constitutional parameters in a democratic manner, free from external interferences. The people of Venezuela have the ultimate authority to take a decision on the country’s political and constitutional course. We stand for peace, stability and unity of Venezuela and call for resolution of differences through peaceful means.”

At present, the officials at the US embassy have been engaging with political leaders, high-level government officials and mediapersons to discuss the US government’s position on Venezuela and the Nepal government’s weak attempt to clarify its position.