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UN chief Antonio Guterres meets Nepal PM Prachanda, Deputy PM Khadka

Kathmandu: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday called on Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ after arriving here on first official visit to the Himalayan nation.

Guterres also held separate meetings with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Purna Bahadur Khadka and Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud.

In a post on X, Nepal’s Prime Minister’s office said a meeting was held between PM Prachanda and UN chief Guterres, who is here on an official visit to Nepal at the friendly invitation of the prime minister.

Guterres said that the transitional justice process in Nepal that the government is trying to conclude must help bring peace to victims, families and communities.

Addressing the media after meeting Prime Minister Prachanda, the UN chief pledged the world body’s support to Nepal to develop a process that meets international standards, the Supreme Court’s rulings, and the needs of victims – and to put it into practice, My Republica newspaper reported.

In a joint press briefing with Prime Minister Prachanda, the UN chief urged developed countries to increase support to countries like Nepal that are hard-hit by the impacts of climate change.

“Nepal is also caught in a blizzard of global crises not of its making: the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, inflation, and the enormous threat posed by climate chaos,” he said.

He said that much more international action is needed. The developed countries must step up to support sustainable development, and help developing economies, including Nepal, to tackle the climate crisis, he said.

Guterres arrived here in the wee hours of Sunday on a four-day official visit. He was received by Foreign Minister Saud and senior foreign ministry officials at the Tribhuvan International Airport.

The UN chief was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the airport, said a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry.

The UN chief is accompanied by Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean Pierre Lacroix, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations to Nepal Hanaa Singer-Hamdy and other officials from the UN Headquarters in New York and the United Nations country team in Nepal.

Guterres, who is visiting Nepal for the first time after assuming the UN Secretary-General post in 2017, will discuss with Nepal’s top leadership the matters relating to the peace process, sustainable development and climate change with Nepali authorities, the foreign ministry said earlier.

Starting in 2006, the peace process for inclusion of Maoist rebels in mainstream politics, issues relating to the implementation of transitional justice mechanism and truth and reconciliation commission, remains incomplete.

Guterres is scheduled to meet President Ramchandra Paudel later on Sunday.

The Secretary-General will have separate meetings with Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) (CPN-UML) Chairperson K P Sharma Oli.

He will also visit the Patan Durbar Square, a heritage site of historical and archaeological significance.

Prachanda will host a banquet reception on Sunday evening in honour of the Secretary-General.

The Secretary-General will also visit famous tourist destinations Namche, Pokhara, Annapurna Base Camp and Buddha’s birthplace Lumbini on Monday.

He would address a joint session of Nepal’s Parliament on Tuesday.

(Published 29 October 2023, 12:14 IST)

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