KATHMANDU, June 3: Minister for Foreign Affairs Prakash Sharan Mahat has said Nepal has proposed with China to open two all-weather customs points for Nepal.
When asked by journalists if diplomatic efforts were being made to reopen Tatopani customs point, which remains closed since the 2015 earthquakes, Minister Mahat said Nepal has proposed with China to reopen the customs point. "We have requested the Chinese side to reopen the Tatopani customs point with priority. We have also proposed with the Chinese side to open at least two all-weather custom points," said Minister Mahat.
Organizing his last press conference as Minister for Foreign Affairs Thursday ahead of the formation of a new government, Minister Mahat said negotiations with China to develop a detailed project report (DPR) for Kerung-Kathmandu railroad is also underway. As a party to China's One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, Nepal has already reached an agreement with China to build Kerung-Kathmandu-Lumbini rail network.
Minister Mahat had provided a list of activities as achievement of his tenure as foreign minister. He said that he had been able to bring various institutional and policy reforms within the ministry, improve bilateral relations with India and China and promote Nepal's diplomacy in the United Nations and other multilateral forums.
Minister Mahat cited formation of high-level foreign policy review task force, restructuring of Institute of Foreign Affairs, formation of MoFA Consultative Group of Experts and organization of conference of non-resident ambassadors to Nepal as his achievements in the front of institutional and policy reforms.
Interestingly, Minister Mahat has cited the controversial decision to open residential embassy in Spain as his achievement. The decision of MoFA to open embassies in Austria and Spain has drawn huge controversy as the move is going to put unnecessary financial burden on the country without any prospect of any kinds of gains for the country.
Among other things, Minister Mahat cited adjustment of passport fee, implementation of Revenue Management Information System, launch of mobile application, implementation of digital distribution, digital dispatch and digital archiving of passports, launch of online legal services, launch of token queue system and implementation of two-hour service delivery system as his achievements in the front of institutional and policy reforms.
Minister Mahat said that Nepal-India relations improved significantly since he assumed the post of foreign minister. While Indian President Pranab Mukherjee paid state visit to Nepal, President Bidya Bhandari reciprocated to the visit during his tenure.
Besides the state visit of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and his own, Minister Mahat said meetings of various bilateral mechanisms and instruments of the two countries including Nepal-India Joint Commission and Nepal-India Bilateral Oversight Mechanism had helped to significantly improve Nepal-India relations.
With regard to Nepal-China relations, Minister Mahat said Nepal's decision to join the OBOR initiative had further deepened Nepal's relations with China.