Government is working for rescue and repatriation of Nepalis in nations at war: DPM Shrestha

KATHMANDU – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, has asserted that the government has left no stone unturned for the rescue and repatriation of Nepali citizens in the countries which are engaged in war.

Speaking in a meeting of the Federalism Consolidation and National Concerns Committee today, he said talks are being held with the Russian government on topics as the number of Nepalis working in the Russian Army, information on their status, repatriation of the bodies of those killed in the war, compensation to be provided to the victims’ families and returning the Nepalis in the Russian Army by rescinding the agreement to that connection.

The DPM and Foreign Affairs Minister said the government has the information that the Nepalis are recruited in the Russian Army, several of them have been injured and are in distress, several Nepalis have been captured by Ukranian Army and many have been killed, reiterating that the government was making all diplomatic efforts for their rescue and return to Nepal. “By agreeing on compensation, the Russian government has now started the process for the same. We have already forwarded the necessary documents for that,” he said, adding – “We have demanded that the Russian Army has an agreement with the Nepalis who have joined the Russian army, it should be canceled and they should be returned to Nepal. The agreement in principle to cancel the contract and send the Nepali recruits in the Russian Army back to Nepal is being prepared to proceed ahead in concrete manner.” As he said, he is in continuous talks with the Russian Foreign Minister and is also trying to talk directly with the Russian Defence Ministry. “We have also demanded the return of those who are held as POW by Ukraine. For this, we are talking with the Ministry of Defence along with the Foreign Minister of Russia,” he said.

The DPM and Foreign Minister mentioned that every possible effort is being made for the return of Nepali citizens from war-torn places. “If necessary, we have even offered to go to Russia and hold talks,” Foreign Minister Shrestha said. Deputy Prime Minister Shrestha informed that Bipin Joshi has been captured by Hamas, but he has not been officially informed about Joshi’s condition. According to him, he is requesting the release of Joshi from the country that is mediating for peace between the war-torn countries. “In the war between Israel and Hamas, our opinion so far is that Bipin Joshi is under the control of Hamas. But information about Joshi’s situation has not been received formally and through official channel, and we have not been able to get him released,” he said.

Responding to the questions raised during the meeting by the members of the committee about the Nepal-India border issue and EPG, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Shrestha informed that the Susta and Kalapani border disputes are still under formal discussion. He said that all dimensions of Nepal-India relations should be resolved through diplomatic discussions. Deputy Prime Minister Shrestha informed the committee that homework is being done to open 14 trade checkpoints between Nepal and China and discussions are underway to create an economic corridor. “Relationships with China have progressed in the economic diplomacy realm, the basis of relations with China has become stronger,” he said.

In the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Shrestha said that the government, public bodies, leadership and political parties have been requested to follow the diplomatic code of conduct. He also informed the meeting that it is necessary to enhance the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the meeting about Nepal’s foreign policy, the works carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and subordinate agencies, economic diplomacy, and problems and future action plans, Minister Shrestha also said that they are going to create a separate department to emphasize on economic diplomacy. He said that provinces and municipalities cannot establish foreign relations by themselves, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is assigning its representative in the provincial government. The Ministry has established diplomatic relations with 182 countries so far. Currently, Nepal has 30 embassies in different countries, and permanent missions in New York in the United States, Vienna in Austria and Geneva in Switzerland, and seven Consulate Generals.

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