Deuba’s US visit, originally scheduled for mid-July, looks uncertain

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s planned visit to the United States has become uncertain. Deuba previously planned to travel to the United States in mid-July and the two parties were close to confirming the date.

During a discussion in the House of Representatives International Relations Committee on June 19, Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka told lawmakers that once the date and agenda for the Prime Minister’s US visit finalized, Deuba itself would assess the House Committee. But the date has not yet been set and there are no concrete duties and bases for the visit, especially after the government decided not to be part of the United States State Partnership Program. United, according to political and diplomatic sources.

CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Thursday fueled more speculation about Deuba’s official bilateral visit to the United States.

Dahal, who is a key leader in the ruling alliance, met Deuba on Wednesday and asked the prime minister about his planned visit to Washington.

Dahal, while addressing the party’s central committee on Thursday, said the prime minister was unlikely to visit the United States.

“I met the Prime Minister on Wednesday and asked him what was going on during his planned visit to the United States. He replied that there was no such preparation. I even asked him if a Another SPP-like deal was going to be signed between the two parties as speculated by some of the Nepali media. left.

Just last week, the Foreign Office said Deuba’s visit “is expected”.

“Discussions are ongoing on the Prime Minister’s visit to the United States,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Sewa Lamsal told a regular press briefing. “We have to do the homework at different layers, so it will take some time to finalize the dates. We will make the details public at the appropriate time. »

Officials with knowledge of the prime minister’s visit, however, told the Post that they are still awaiting a response from the US side on when Deuba will meet with US President Joe Biden.

With the US president busy, the prime minister’s planned visit has been postponed from mid-July to the third week of July, a Nepalese diplomat has said.

“We are still hopeful that the visit will take place and once we have the schedule for the meeting between Prime Minister Deuba and US President Biden, the preparations will gain momentum,” the diplomat added.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Nepal and the United States, Prime Minister Deuba planned to embark on an official bilateral tour to Washington, the first in 20 years by the head of the Nepalese government. But the plan faltered after US Army Pacific Commanding General Charles Flynn visited Kathmandu on June 10.

As soon as Flynn ended his visit, a leaked draft of the SPP allegedly transmitted by the US side sparked a flurry of debate and controversy. The government assured parliament that Nepal would not be part of any military alliance.

With the leak of correspondence from then-Chief of the Nepalese Army, General Rajendra Chettri, to former US Ambassador to Nepal Alina B Tiplez, the SPP saga took a new turn, forcing the government on June 21 to decide not to go ahead. with the SPP.

The US side was expected to raise Nepal’s decision not to join the SPP during Army Chief General Prabhu Ram Sharma’s visit to the US, but they did not. said a word, a Nepali official, who was part of Sharma’s delegation. , told the Post.

Sharma visited the United States at the invitation of the Pentagon and met with senior US military and defense officials from June 27 to July 1.

The SPP is therefore not the cause of the delay of the Prime Minister’s visit to the United States, the official said. “We found that US officials cared the least about Nepal’s decision, but in a private conversation they expressed dismay,” the official said.

Deuba had not committed to flying to the United States, Dahal told Maoist party members. Although now uncertain, the prime minister’s visit to the United States could take place in September during the session of the United Nations General Assembly, according to Dahal.

Foreign Ministry officials said the prime minister’s visit “is still planned” but no date has yet been set.

Nepal’s embassy in Washington is working on logistics and other issues as the prime minister is still keen to visit the United States, a senior foreign ministry official said, wishing not to be named.

“But we have not received any instructions from high political authorities to speed up preparations for the visit,” another official said.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Lamsal said there was not much development from what she said at Sunday’s press conference. “We are expecting the Prime Minister’s visit to the United States soon,” she said.

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