Deuba meets SAARC leaders, but not Modi
Kathmandu, Sept. 22: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba held separate bilateral meetings with the Heads of State/Government of SAARC countries. However, he did not hold any meeting with Indian Prime Minister Naredra Modi. On Thursday the Prime Minister held meetings with the leaders of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York on Thursday. Matters of common bilateral and international interests figured during the meetings. During the meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the two leaders discussed ways to further strengthening bilateral ties, a press statement issued by the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations, New York said today. Similarly, during the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Deuba and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed, the two leaders laid emphasis on enhancing transport connectivity, and utilising the BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) framework. The two leaders also talked about enhancing energy cooperation and joint investment in Nepal's hydropower. Likewise, in the meeting with Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the two leaders exchanged views on different aspects of bilateral relations. The Prime Minister of Pakistan during the meeting said that Pakistan was ready to hold the SAARC summit as soon as its member states were ready. Nepal is the chair of the regional organisation. In the meeting with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, historic and religious linkages between Nepal and Sri Lanka were highlighted. The Prime Minister recalled the invitation extended by the President of Nepal during her visit to Sri Lanka. In response, the President reaffirmed that he would visit Nepal at a convenient date, which will be finalised later through appropriate diplomatic channels. During those meetings, Nepal, as chair of SAARC, emphasised on the need for further deepening regional cooperation and connectivity and in this regard called for hosting the SAARC Summit at the earliest convenient date. Prime Minister Deuba also shared Nepal's recent political developments including the successful conclusion of elections to the local bodies. But it is not known why no meeting was held between Deuba and Modi. PM Deuba was scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on Saturday, September 23. Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara did not attend the reception hosted by US President Donald Trump for technical reasons. Reports from New York had it that DPM Mahara was not allowed to attend the reception as he was carrying invitation card sent to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari. Meanwhile, DPM Mahara had separate bilateral meetings with Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi, Foreign Minister of Indonesia, and Retno Lestari Priansuri Marsudi, Foreign Minister of Bahrain. DPM Mahara also held a meeting with Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. During the meeting, Mahara thanked the Administrator for the continued support of UNDP in the socio-economic development of Nepal. The UNDP Administrator expressed assurances of UNDP support for the socio-economic development of Nepal. DPM Mahara also attended the 8th Ministerial Breakfast Meeting of Group of Friends of Mediation hosted by Finland and Turkey. Speaking at the event, he stressed that mediation should promote the empowerment of parties, enabling them to make wellconsidered decisions to resolve conflicts. Likewise, Asha Khanal Koirala, Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare represented Nepal at the Ministerial Meeting of Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) held in New York Thursday.