Foreign Minister Gyawali shakes hands with US Secretary of State Pompeo at the State Department ahead of their bilateral talks. Photo Courtesy: Nepalese Embassy, Washington.
KATHMANDU, Dec 19: Nepal and the United States of America on Wednesday agreed to take their seven-decade long bilateral ties to the next level.
The two sides reached the understanding during a meeting between visiting Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali and US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo at the State Department in Washington DC today morning. The two countries held their bilateral consultative meeting after a gap of 17 years.
"Nepal and the United States of America have agreed to widen and deepen seven-decades long partnership to take their relationship to the next level," read a press statement issued by the Nepalese Embassy in Washington DC.
During the meeting, the overall state of bilateral relations and cooperation between Nepal and the United States of America was discussed.
On the occasion, Foreign Minister Gyawali highlighted the priorities of the Government of Nepal in line with its goal to graduate from LDCs status at an early date and become a middle-income country by 2030.
The two sides exchanged views on enhancing political relationship through exchange of visits and the ways and means for promoting economic cooperation between the two countries, with the particular focus on the areas of trade, investment and development assistance, the statement said.
Gyawali and Pompeo also underlined the importance of early implementation of Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact to realize the benefit it offers. As part of the program, the United States has already extended a grant assistance of $500 million for strengthening Nepal's energy and transport network.
Prior to the ministerial meeting, Nepal-US political consultation was held at the State Department earlier today. The meeting was co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi and Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Ambassador Alice G. Wells.
The agenda for discussion in the consultation meeting included policies and development priorities of Nepal, implementation of bilateral agreements, updates on MCC Compact, peace process of Nepal, development cooperation, trade and investment issues as well as matters pertaining to regional and global affairs, according to the press statement.
The visit of the Nepali foreign minister to the United States comes at a time when the United States is willing to establish 'strategic partnership' with Nepal as part of its 'Indo-Pacific strategy'.
The US launched 'Indo-Pacific strategy' aims to use political, economic, diplomatic, military, and other means to co-opt China's neighboring countries including India and Nepal to contain China's rise.
Foreign Minister Gyawali is scheduled to hold meetings with the chief operating officer of MCC as well as with senior officials from office of the US Secretary of Defense and National Security Council on Wednesday. Gyawali is on a four-day visit to the United States since Monday.
The other members of Nepali delegation included Ambassador of Nepal to the United States of America Arjun Kumar Karki, Joint Secretary at Ministry of Finance Shreekrishna Nepal, Joint Secretary at Ministry of Home Affairs Mahadev Panth as well as officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Nepal in Washington DC.
The delegation of USA comprised Ambassador of USA to Nepal Randy Berry and senior officials from Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the State Department as well as senior officials from Department of State, Department of commerce, USAID and office of Assistant Secretary of Defense.