Foreign Policy Analyst, Canada
Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is set to visit Washington in mid-July, marking 75 years of diplomatic relations between the US and Kathmandu. This is the first official visit by a Nepali Prime Minister to Washington in at least two decades. While Nepali Prime Ministers have regularly visited the US in the past, they were not part of bilateral meets and were mostly to New York.
Deuba, during his maiden trip to the US, is expected to be in Washington from July 14 to July 16, according to diplomatic and government sources cited by some media agencies in Nepal. Considering the jam-packed schedule of US President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other senior American officials, two possible windows are kept under consideration for Nepali PM’s visit, as per the report. Hence, Deuba can visit the US either in early July or in mid-June.
High placed sources in Kathmandu say that much ahead of Nepal Prime Minister Deuba’s visit to the US, Nepal Army Chief is also likely to land in the US soil.
Nepal PM Deuba’s press chief, Govinda Pariyar was quoted by local media as saying, “The Prime Minister will be visiting the United States this year. Both sides are working on dates”.
“He will be participating in the second Summit for Democracy. Anyway, the PM will be attending the coming session of the United Nations General Assembly,” he added.
The dates will be publicly announced only after the US Embassy in Kathmandu and Nepal’s Foreign Ministry make the final decision.
“Once his [Sher Bahadur Deuba] meetings and other engagements in the US are fixed, the visit will be announced,” Pariyar told press men in Kathmandu. It is to note here that even though Nepal and the US share decades-old diplomatic ties, the nations have not exchanged many high-level visits.
Deuba’s possible visit to the United States came after just last week, US Under Secretary of State Uzra Zeya visited Nepal for three days which was also the highest-level visit since 2012. Meanwhile, the latest high-level visit from Nepal to the US was in 2018 when the then Nepali foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali flew to Washington. Gyawali’s US visit was the first such trip made by a Nepali foreign minister in 17 years.
In the meanwhile, the Nepali Ambassador to the US, Professor Shreedhar Khatri has recently met with Lindsey Ford, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, US Department of Defense on 25 May 2022 in the Pentagon, according to Nepali Embassy in Washington.
Professor Khatri is learnt to have held discussions on the bilateral relations and defense cooperation between Nepal and the USA. They also discussed on cooperation and engagements between Nepal Army and U.S Army, reports Annapurna Express dated May 27, 2022.