KATHMANDU, Nov 13: President Bidya Devi Bhandari has left here for Abu Dhabi for an official visit to the United Arab Emirates this afternoon at the cordial invitation of UAE's Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and UAE's Armed Forces' deputy supreme commander, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Vice-President Nanda Bahadur Pun, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and high-level officials were at VVIP longue of at Tribhuvan International Airport to see off President Bhandari.
A contingent of Nepali Army offered 21-gun salute to President Bhandari on the occasion.
Nepal and UAE had established diplomatic relations on January 22, 1977.
According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), President Bhandari and the crown prince will hold official meeting in Abu Dhabi on matter of mutual interests between the two countries.
The president is also scheduled to visit Emirate of Dubai and meet Nepali community at a function organized by the Embassy of Nepal in UAE during her four-day stay in the Gulf nation.
Although the MoFA in its statement said the visit of the head of the state of Nepal coincides with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, foreign affairs experts including a section of government officials have termed the visit ‘ill-timed’ as Qatar and the UAE, which is a part of the Saudi Arabia-led alliance, are engaged in diplomatic standoff over the past few months.
President Bhandari is scheduled to return home on November 30.