KATHMANDU, April 21: Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, has said that the government was fully informed and aware of the Nepalis stranded abroad, and that it would start the process of bringing them back home once the situation turned favourable.
Minister Gyawali said this in a video conference call on Monday with the Non-Resident Nepalis Association (NRNA) presidents of countries hardest hit by COVID-19 pandemic. In this connection, the Minister talked to the NRNA presidents in 11 countries and heard the concern and the situation of the Nepali communities there.
He informed the Nepali community abroad, through the NRNA presidents, that it was not immediately possible to rescue and bring home the Nepalis stranded abroad as the lockdown period has been extending in Nepal.
"The government is fully aware and informed of the Nepalis stranded abroad. we will start the process of returning them to Nepal once the situation became favourable," Foreign Affairs Minister Gyawali said, adding that the government was positive regarding promptly addressing the problems of the Nepali migrant workers, mainly in the Gulf region. He asserted that the government would seek a solution to the issue through consultations with the diplomatic missions and NRNA, urging the non-resident Nepalis in those countries to have patience.
The Minister lauded the role played by the Nepalis in difficult circumstances and thanked the NRNA for its active role in activities like spreading public awareness against COVID-19 and distributing relief to the needy Nepalis abroad in the present adverse situation.
He also informed that the government has been holding discussions with countries affected by coronavirus and that the Nepali embassies have been activated to work together with NRNA in countries where Nepal does not have its diplomatic missions. In the meeting, NRNA International Committee President, Kumar Panta, said the government has adopted effective steps towards prevention of coronavirus pandemic.
He said especially the decision of the government to enforce a lockdown across the country on time was laudable. Panta said NRNA was ready to work together with the government in terms of the relief programmes directed at the Nepalis on foreign employment who have been affected by COVID-19. The NRNA presidents from various countries, who participated in the video conference with Minister Gyawali, voiced the problems faced by students, ex-British Gurkhas soldiers and the Nepali migrant workers abroad.
They also talked about distribution of relief and health safety equipment to them as well as the management of those Nepalis who want to return home immediately. They also suggested the government to formulate short-term and long-term economic policy as the country could reel under economic recession due to the adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The NRNA presidents from the United Kingdom, Germany, America, Italy, Spain, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, France, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, among other countries, participated in the video conference. High officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were also present on the occasion.