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From The Nepali Press
Undiplomatic



KIRAN PANDAY
Successive prime ministers in Nepal and diplomats have violated their own rules by not keeping the Foreign Ministry informed about meetings. State Minister for Home Affairs Mohammad Ansari went on a week-long visit to China last month, but the Foreign Ministry was not informed. Indian Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao met Defence Minister Bidya Bhandari and Foreign Ministry officials, once again, had no idea they were meeting.

For the Indian and Chinese embassies in Kathmandu, it has become routine to bypass the Foreign Ministry and go directly to Baluwatar. Recently, the Chinese ambassador met Madhav Nepal. Neither his embassy nor the prime minister's office informed the Foreign Ministry.

Such lapses of protocol indicate who actually directs foreign policy in this country. "We are fed up, there is no role for us when even low-level diplomats have direct access to the prime minister," complains a Foreign Ministry official.

Prime Minister Nepal is just carrying on the tradition of his predecessors Girija Prasad Koirala and Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Koirala used to have secret talks with visiting Indian officials which he didn't even allow his personal secretary to attend. Dahal once got visiting Indian foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon to come directly to Baluwatar from the airport, while Foreign Ministry officials were waiting at Singha Darbar for a listed meeting with the prime minister. Even as leader of the opposition, Dahal refused Foreign Ministry cars to go to the airport and didn't brief the ministry at all about his visits so that the ministry could inform the relevant consulates. Says the Foreign Ministry official: "When they start meeting foreign visitors secretly, there is no archive anywhere of what was decided."



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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