at the inauguration of the residential Swiss Embassy in Kathmandu
Ambassador Martin Dahinden, Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation,
Ambassador Thomas Gass, and other officials of the Swiss Embassy,
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am pleased to inaugurate the opening of the residential Embassy of the Swiss Confederation in Kathmandu today and welcome you to our country. On behalf of the Government of Nepal, I assure you that the newly opened Embassy will be extended full cooperation in the discharge of its responsibility for taking our bilateral relations to a new height. The decision of the Swiss Government to open a residential mission in Nepal to coincide with the Golden Jubilee of the establishment of diplomatic relations is an eloquent testimony to our close and mutually beneficial ties of friendship and cooperation.
Nepal and Switzerland enjoy excellent bilateral relations. Switzerland is among the first few countries to initiate development cooperation with Nepal in the fifties. Swiss cooperation has embraced a wider canvass that includes cheese production, education, vocational and technical training, drinking water supply, hydropower and irrigation, promotion of small business, health, suspension bridges, transport infrastructure, sustainable use of natural resources, agriculture, rural development, forestry and good governance. As landlocked mountainous countries, we share similarities in our landscape. We also have commonality of approach on a number of international issues. The status of politically neutral and peace-loving Switzerland as one of the most advanced countries in the world has remained an exemplary source of inspiration for Nepal. Besides, the federal structure of the country is one of the models that can be adopted here along with some suitable adjustments taking into account our own needs and aspirations arising out of the significant political transformation and declaration of Nepal as a Federal Democratic Republic.
There is a significant scope for further development of our bilateral relations. We invite Swiss investments in our country particularly in some core areas like hydropower, transport and infrastructure development, highland agriculture and animal husbandry, etc. Tourism is one area that has yet to be fully tapped in Nepal and promises to be another field for promoting joint cooperation. A number of Swiss tourists visit Nepal every year. With the return of peace and stability in Nepal and declaration of 2011 as Visit Nepal Year, we wish to focus on sustainable development of tourism in our country.
Apart from Swiss cooperation in social, economic and technical fields that had initial focus on local development, sustainable development of mountainous regions and promotion of self-reliance on the part of poorer segments of the Nepalese society and also settlement and support for refugees, Nepal has received valuable assistance from Switzerland in new fields like human rights, peace promotion and conflict management. We than the Government and people of Switzerland for their support in our movement for the establishment of a Federal Democratic Republic. We appreciate the role of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in further consolidating our mutually beneficial relations particularly in our peace process.
The foreign policy of Nepal is guided by the abiding faith in the United Nations Charter, policy of nonalignment, international law and principles of peaceful coexistence. We pursue a policy of promoting mutually beneficial ties of friendship and cooperation with all countries of the world and particularly our immediate neighbours and other countries that have contributed to our development endeavours.
As all of you are aware, the Government of Nepal is keen to take the ongoing peace process to its positive conclusion and end the period of political transition as early as possible. We are committed to institutionalize peace and stability in our country so as to concentrate on socio-economic development to improve the quality of life of our people. The Constituent Assembly in engaged in the task of drafting a suitable Constitution for the country within the stipulated timeframe as per the aspirations of the people. We need support from our friends in meeting two of these topmost priorities of the Government. I am committed to achieving both these goals through an atmosphere of dialogue, consensus and cooperation on the part of political parties and groups in Nepal.
As for expediting the country's development, my Government seeks to promote three pillars of economy. These include cooperatives and public-private partnership. We have also pursued investment-friendly policy to attract external private investment to accelerate the country's socio-economic progress and launch some concrete development projects on a fast-track basis. We fully realize that while there is no other alternative to pursue and promote pluralist democracy, human rights, rule of law, federal republican order and inclusion in our society, these important political gains made in the last few years after the successful second people's movement of 2006 can only be sustained and reinforced by faster pace of socio-economic development and upliftment of the living standards of our people. It is in this context that we need concrete and focused support and cooperation from the international community.
With these words, I welcome all of you once again. Let us join hands to further consolidate Nepal-Swiss relations of friendship and cooperation for our mutual benefit as we are going to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of our formal diplomatic relations very soon.
Speech to be delivered by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Mr. Madhav Kumar Nepal at the inauguration of the residential Swiss Embassy in Kathmandu, on August 17, 2009