KATHMANDU, Princess Astrid of Belgium will be visiting Nepal from January 19 to 25, the Nepali and Belgian governments confirmed on Thursday.
The Embassy of Belgium in India, which is concurrently accredited to Nepal and Nepal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), announced the visit.
On Wednesday, Republica reported about the Belgian royal's unofficial visit to Nepal.
This is going to be the first visit of a Belgian royal to Nepal after 1998. King Albert II had paid a private visit to Nepal during the eighties. Likewise, King Philippe, the then Crown Prince, paid an unofficial visit to Nepal in 1998.
In its press release, MoFA stated that Princess Astrid, the younger sister of King of the Belgians, is visiting Nepal on Jan 19-25.
During her stay, she is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on President Bidya Devi Bhandari. She will have separate meetings with the Ishwar Pokhrel, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal, Minister for Health and Population.
Princess Astrid will also be visiting Kailai, Nawalparasi and Chitawan districts, according to MoFA. In Kailali, she will join the opening ceremony of a new Tuberculosis Centre and meet with the leprosy and tuberculosis affected people. She will visit the Midpoint Hospital at Nawalparasi, which is a provincial reference center for MDR tuberculosis and leprosy.
The aforementioned health facilities have been supported by the Damien Foundation, a Belgium-based NGO with Princess as the honorary chairperson. She has also been active in anti-landmine campaign as the Special Envoy for the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction.
"This visit will contribute to further strengthening the bilateral relations and expanding the areas of cooperation between Nepal and Belgium," the MoFA stated in the press release.