KATHMANDU, March 17: Co-chairperson of Nepal Communist Party, Pushpa Kamal Dahal said that his visit to the United States was personal than political. He, however, said that there could be official and unofficial visits with ambassador and United States government officials during his visit. The former Prime Minister said so while debriefing media persons at the Tribhuvan International Airport before the couple’s departure to the United States.
Dahal, however, said that with changing the political situation in the country, he’d try to be back in Kathmandu in a week’s time while his daughter and son-in-law would look after their ailing mother, Sita, who will be admitted to Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Hospital in the United States to treat Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. Sita has been suffering from the disease for the past few years.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is an uncommon brain disorder that affects movement, control of walking (gait) and balance, speech, swallowing, vision, mood and behaviour, and thinking. The disease results from damage to nerve cells in the brain. The disorder’s long name indicates that the disease worsens (progressive) and causes weakness (palsy) by damaging certain parts of the brain above nerve cell clusters called nuclei (supranuclear). These nuclei particularly control eye movements. One of the classic signs of the disease is an inability to aim and move the eyes properly, which individuals may experience as blurring of vision.” The disorder affects three to six person in 100,000.
“The Johns Hopkins Hospital is the best hospital in the world and we hope to cure her ailment,” Dahal said. The couple will be accompanied by their daughter, Ganga and son-in-law Jeevan Acharya.
The visit comes nearly two months after the former prime minister landed into controversy over his statement on the Venezuelan crisis causing diplomatic tension between Kathmandu and Washington DC.
Reacting to the political development in the oil-rich country in a strong-worded a statement, Dahal had described the act of “US and its allies” an “unacceptable intrusion in internal affairs and an attempt of imperialist coup”.
The statement rattled Nepal’s relations with the US with the latter calling top government official to clarify the government’s official position on the matter. The US Department of State had separately summoned Nepal’s ambassador to Washington DC Arjun Karki for clarification.
Responding to US concerns, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had issued a statement stressing the need for resolving the political crisis in Venezuela without “external interference”, echoing Dahal’s stance, albeit in a toned-down form.