British Embassy celebrates King Charles III’s birthday

Published On: May 17, 2024 04:37 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 17: The British Embassy in Kathmandu celebrated the official birthday of King Charles III on Thursday. The event was graced by Nepal’s Vice President, who raised a toast to “The next 100 years of friendship” alongside British Ambassador Rob Fenn.

According to a statement issued by the embassy, the celebration marked the recent centenary of the 1923 Britain-Nepal Treaty of Friendship, highlighting people-to-people ties to energize the next century of partnership and UK support for Nepal’s journey to faster economic growth through foreign direct investment (FDI).

“Attendees represented the breadth of relations between the two countries, their shared history and bright future. Themes explored throughout the evening included development cooperation, follow- up to the National Investment Summit, B2B links, the British Gurkhas, education and culture,” the statement reads.

The event reflected the embassy’s focus on the role of young people in the long story of UK /Nepal relations - the custodians of the next “100 years of friendship”. King Charles himself has visited Nepal. His steadfast leadership on issues affecting young people was showcased in the work of the British Council, volunteers from VSO, recipients of Duke of Edinburgh Awards and Chevening scholars who study in the UK and return to help build their country, according to the statement.

Ambassador Fenn spoke of the progress made with the UK’s “comrade in arms, Nepal,” and expressed his hope that Nepal would now take “the steeper path” leading to faster growth through FDI. “We’ve come this far together. Let’s spend the next 100 years of friendship where we can see out from the rooftop of the world, and where the world will come to us,” the statement quotes Ambassador Fenn as saying.

Here is the full text of Ambassador Fenn's remarks at the King Charles III Birthday reception event:

Right Honorable Vice President, [सम्माननीय उपराष्ट्रपति ज्यू ], Ladies, Gentlemen, Colleagues, Friends,

Thank you for coming. I realise I have only about a minute of people’s undivided attention. So I will tell you a quick story.

Imagine a middle-aged British Ambassador. Truth be told, an unathletic one. Trekking with his good friend and comrade in arms, Nepal. They have been travelling companions for ages. Say, at least 100 years.Surely, they must reach Langtang soon.

They come to a fork in the path. One track goes straight on. It would take them forward. But gain no height. The other track looks steeper. There’s a signpost on the steeper path. It says, “Foreign Direct Investment, this way”.

Which path should we take? The Ambassador is open to either. Britain is in this out of friendship. The country in which he is a guest – Nepal, never conquered, never colonised – belongs to his friend. He will support his host, whichever route he chooses.

In his heart, however, he hopes Nepal will choose the steeper ascent. Despite the extra effort it would take, and the pain in his knees. Why?

First, because Nepal’s children have gone abroad. The steeper path is the shortest route to the kind of future which will keep the kids in the country. Also, the kind of country which will enchant new generations of British kids, as it did their forefathers. The sooner we reach thatdestination the better.Our young ones might rejoin us up there. But they won’t wait long.

Second, look around. Even down here in the valley, this is the most beautiful country in the world. But up the steeper path, there could be high-end tourist resorts, hydro-electric powerplants, air-cooled data centres – all tastefully concealed in the landscape… While travelling together, Nepal and the UK have dreamed up many plans. All require investment; more money than the Ambassador has. Capital markets worked for him. He wants those benefits for his old friend.

Lastly,our destination is a place where many paths meet. Where we can celebrate and plan new journeys with travellers from all over the world. Those connections are like travel insurance.The Ambassador wants his old friend to have economic sovereigntyas well.

Friends, we are at that fork in the road. The UK will stay with you, whichever path you choose. That’s what friends are for. But the National Investment Summit – and the economic reforms it advertised –is the route we recommend. We’ve come this far together. Let’s spend the next 100 Years of Friendship up where we can see out from the rooftop of the world, and where the world will come to us.

Chief Guest, Ladies and Gentlemen, in a moment, let’s raise our glasses to the next 100 Years. Assisted by the generous sponsorship of Diageo and Barahsinghe; but not so much that we need help from our third generous sponsor, CIWEC Hospital.

And after that, more formally, we will toast the person who has brought us all together today: His Majesty King Charles III.


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