KATHMANDU, March 23: Amid growing tendency among Kathmandu-based foreign diplomats to hold meetings with chief ministers and chiefs of local government bodies without seeking prior approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the ministry has written to all Kathmandu-based diplomatic missions to honor the provisions of the Vienna Conventions.
MoFA has also separately written to all the chief ministers to seek prior approval from the ministry before holding any meeting with foreign diplomats. Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradip Gyawali after holding discussions at the ministry had directed officials to send note verbale [a diplomatic note] to all diplomatic missions based in Kathmandu.
As per the new constitution, federal government alone can oversee the conduct of foreign policy and the country's external relations. Although MoFA had earlier introduced a diplomatic code of conduct to regulate meetings of the government officials including former prime ministers and the ministers with diplomats, the code is not being observed.
MoFA officials said with the new government in place they are regulating meetings of foreign diplomats with government officials in line with the provisions set out in the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations, 1961.
In recent months, ambassadors and representatives of donor agencies have been holding meetings with chief ministers and mayors of local level bodies without seeking prior approval from MoFA. Officials at MoFA said they learnt about such meetings through the media.
Foreign diplomats wishing to hold meeting with government officials now have to first make a request with the MoFA, which would fix the meeting at a mutually convenient date. MoFA can also turn down a request if deemed unnecessary.
MoFA has also directed the ministries at the center to first seek its permission before holding meetings with foreign diplomats including ambassadors, MoFA officials said.