“Kuwait is a good friend of Nepal and we have excellent relations,” stated H E Arjun Bahadur Thapa, foreign secretary of Nepal to The Times in an exclusive interview during his recent visit to Kuwait. H E Thapa was on a Gulf tour of Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman to meet his counterparts to discuss ways and means to bolster relations.

During the meeting with his Kuwaiti counterpart H E Khaled Al-Jarallah, undersecretary of ministry of Foreign Affairs, he held wide ranging discussions on matters of bilateral interests. “We had a good meeting and focused our talks on how to strengthen relations,” stated the foreign secretary.

Kuwait and Nepal established diplomatic relations way back in 1972 and since then relations have grown steadily. More than 60,000 Nepali citizens live in Kuwait and Nepal was the first country in South-East Asia to condemn the brutal Iraqi invasion in Kuwait.

Elaborating on the meeting with the Kuwait undersecretary of foreign affairs, H E Thapa disclosed that he thanked the government of Kuwait for hosting a large number of Nepalese workers in the country and stressed the need for widening the areas of cooperation in the field of trade, tourism, investment, cultural exchanges and direct air service, among others. He also highlighted on the importance of concluding the Labor Agreement as well as the reciprocal visa exemption for the officials of the holders of diplomatic and official passports.

On his part H E Khaled Al Jarallah extended a very warm welcome to the Nepali foreign undersecretary and mentioned that Kuwait attached high importance to its relations with Nepal. He also stressed the need for having frequent visits from both sides to give fresh momentum to bilateral relations.

H E Khaled Al Jarallah also requested the Nepali side to take steps to activate the mechanism of joint commission to revive all areas of cooperation between the two countries. Al Jarallah also suggested to work towards the exchange of trade delegations to increase trade between the two countries and conduct a Nepal exhibition in Kuwait to introduce Nepal to the Kuwaiti people and attract them to visit Nepal.

Kuwait undersecretary also made a special request to the government of Nepal to join Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), the Asian group of nations created to foster cooperation among its members. He also offered Kuwait assistance in the exploration of oil fields in Nepal.

H E Thapa revealed that Kuwait has shown keen interest in investment in Nepal and plans to offer them options in hydro-power sector. Nepal is a tourist paradise with so many attractions disclosed the foreign secretary and they would like to welcome tourists from Kuwait to experience the charm and beauty of Nepal. The foreign secretary also extended an invitation to H E Khaled Al Jarallah to visit Nepal.

During his short visit the foreign secretary met with members of the Nepali community and assured them of the government’s full support in addressing their problems if any.

H E Thapa was accompanied by Ambassador of Nepal to Kuwait H E Madhuban Prasad Paudel, Chief of Protocol Mr Kali Prasad Pokhrel, and joint secretary of the ministry of Labor and Employment, Mr Buddhi Bahadur Khadka.

-Staff Report

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