KATHMANDU, SEP 15 –
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Friday “called” Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Kathmandu, Patricia A Mahoney, over recent meetings of US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O Blake with Chief of Army Staff General Gaurav SJB Rana and Tibetan representatives in Kathmandu. MoFA said the meetings were held without prior information to the government.
During his visit to Kathmandu this week, Blake held separate meetings with Gen Rana and Tibetan representatives in Kathmandu on Tuesday.
According to standard diplomatic practice, foreign diplomats must inform the host country of their meetings with government office bearers and others and take prior permission.
A media advisory issued by the US Embassy in Kathmandu on September 10 said that “during his time in Kathmandu, Blake will meet with Prime Minister Bhattarai, Maoist Chairman Prachanda, Nepal Army Chief Guarav Rana and other Nepali government officials to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues. He will also meet with business leaders, Tibetan community representatives, civil society leaders and human rights activists.”
However, an itinerary provided by the US Embassy to MoFA did not mention Blake’s meeting with General Rana and Tibetan representatives, officials said. The ministry had also sought with the Home Ministry details of Blake’s meeting with Tibetan leaders. The Home Ministry responded by saying that no prior approval had been taken from the ministry for such a meeting and that it violates diplomatic norms.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha had instructed MoFA officials to seek an explanation from the US Embassy on why such meetings were not brought to the government’s notice and why Blake’s full itinerary was not sent to the government.
Division Chief, Europe, America, at MoFA, Arjun Bahadur Thapa, “called” DCM Mahoney and urged her to respect the Diplomatic Code of Conduct.
“I had a very cordial meeting with DCM Mahoney and we discussed several bilateral issues. She assured me that the embassy will coordinate with the government in the future when it comes to such high-level visits and meetings in Nepal,” Thapa, who is also the MoFA spokesperson, said.
Thapa told Mahoney that the Nepal Army is also part of the government and that meetings with serving army officers should be brought to the government’s notice. Mahoney told Thapa that they were not aware of such rules and that they will strictly follow the diplomatic code in future.
Posted on: 2012-09-15 04:00