The United States plans to invest about one billion US Dollars in Nepal, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States, Victoria Nuland said on Monday during her visit to the Himalayan Nation. She is the first high-level foreign dignitary to visit Nepal post-new government formation in Nepal, Nuland further pointed out the investment plans in a press meeting held at Patan in Lalitpur.
“This time we were very proud and pleased to be able to talk about all of our projects together for the future. The United States plan to invest over a billion dollar in Nepal over the next five years in everything from green energy, and the electrification of this country to small and medium-sized enterprise particularly investing in women-led business and those led by under-represented groups.” Nuland landed in Nepal on Sunday evening and held a meeting with Nepal’s newly elected Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Afterwards, Nuland held a meeting with opposition party President Sher Bahadur Deuba from the Nepali Congress and KP Sharma Oli from the Communist Party of Nepal- Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML).
Nuland also paid a courtesy call to Nepal’s lately appointed Foreign Minister Bimala Rai Paudel. “During the course of those meetings we of course talked about the next steps in finalizing our Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Project in the field of clean energy. We talked about the plan of government to submit the legislation to the parliament to finalize the transitional justice process, what the United States, might be able to do to support the implementation thereafter,” Nuland briefed media. When asked about the regional tension ongoing across the globe, Undersecretary Nuland replied, “Everything we do here in Nepal is transparent and open for everyone to see. For example, the Millennium Corporation Challenge (MCC), all of the aspects of it are available on the MCC website. When we talk to the government here, we say have partnerships, have economic relationships with all of your neighbours. But just ensure when you do that, you’re protecting your own sovereignty that the deals you’re cutting are good for Nepal and that there is no corruption in them and that everything is transparent and open. So, we welcome Nepal of having good relations with its neighbours. In fact, we obviously have a very strong relationship with India that you saw with regard to China President Biden and President Xi Jin Ping sat down together in November and we will have more engagement with China in the coming weeks. It’s not about one or the other, it is about what is good for Nepali democracy and prosperity. That is obviously your choice.”
Furthermore, visiting senior US officials also extended a hand to help Nepal in investigating and further strengthening the cyber security of the Himalayan Nation. Nepal late last week faced a cyber-attack which shut the International airport for about 5 hours and took down all the government sites. “Today in the context of the cyber-attack that you (Nepal) faced in the last couple of days, the United States has strong partnerships around the world in trying to strengthen cyber security and cyber resilience with its partners. So I offer to the Government of Nepal that if you are interested, as we have governments from Germany to Japan to across America, we are pleased to come and bring some of our technical specialists to look at what happened here and help you strengthen your systems,” Nuland said.
Sworn in as Under Secretary for Political Affairs in April 2021, Nuland, a U.S. diplomat for 33 years, served as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs from September 2013 until January 2017 under US President Barak Obama and Secretary John Kerry. She was State Department Spokesperson during Secretary Hillary Clinton’s tenure, and U.S. Ambassador to NATO during President George W. Bush’s second term, 2005-2008. Nuland served as Special Envoy and chief negotiator on the Treaty on Conventional Arms Control in Europe from 2010-2011, and as Deputy National Security Advisor to Vice President Cheney from 2003-2005.
In addition to two tours at NATO in Brussels, she has served overseas in Russia, China and Mongolia, and in various assignments at the State Department in Washington. Nuland currently is on visit to Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Qatar. During her visit to India, Nuland will lead the US-India annual Foreign Office Consultations which cover the full range of bilateral, regional, and global issues and will also meet with young tech leaders, the US Department of State said in an official statement.
The Under Secretary, on reaching Sri Lanka will mark the 75th anniversary of US-Sri Lanka relations and offer continued US support for Sri Lanka’s efforts to stabilize the economy, protect human rights, and promote reconciliation, the official release added. Finally, the Under Secretary will discuss global issues in Qatar as part of the US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue.
“She will also meet with counterparts to discuss Qatar’s critical support for the relocation of Afghans with ties to the US, as well as our bilateral agreement to protect US interests in Afghanistan,” the US State Department press release added. (ANI)
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