Prez, PM, top leaders ‘breached protocol’


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has expressed “serious reservations” over the systematic breach of diplomatic protocol and the code of conduct by President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and top leaders of the major political parties. The MoFA urged them to not undermine state protocol and precedent while meeting with foreign dignitaries and diplomats.

 The Ministry cited the recent budget endorsement by President Yadav and his private meetings with foreign diplomats, the visit of Indian leader Karan Singh and the manner in which Nepali leaders thronged to visit him at the residence of Rastriya Prajatantra Party Chairman Pashupati Shumsher Rana as some of the incidents where the MoFA was uninformed.

The MoFA was kept in the dark about Singh’s recent visit and his meetings with the President and top leaders, which clearly bypasses state protocol, argued the Ministry. The Ministry is all set to widen the scope of the diplomatic code of conduct, where it is attempting to bring the political leadership under its ambit.“The systematic violation of the code of conduct by leaders, including the President and the PM, is unacceptable,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha to a select group of journalists on Monday.

High-level dignitaries like the head of state, the PM, former PMs and top leaders should not undermine state protocol

while dealing with foreigners and diplomats, he said.

DPM Shrestha is learned to have asked the President to follow the code of conduct while meeting with foreign diplomats

and officials. “Why does the President need

to conduct private talks and meetings with foreign diplomats?” questioned a senior MoFA official.

According to the current code of conduct, a notetaker from the MoFA should be present at any meeting with foreigners.

On November 25, PM Bhattarai’s visit to the President’s office to inform him about the Cabinet decision that deemed the latter’s call for consensus ‘unconstitutional’, had also raised serious questions about the stature of the President and the PM’s office, added DPM Shrestha.  

“I want good relations with both India and China but our leaders should not undermine national integrity and independence. This is not just a matter of meeting with foreign leaders,” he said.

Direct foreign projects a no-no

Shrestha, on Monday, deemed direct funding for projects by foreign nations ‘unacceptable’ and said that any such projects should first go through the Ministry of Finance.

“The selection of projects should be ascertained by the Ministries of Finance and Local Development before a memorandum of understanding is signed between any foreign party and local authorities,” said DPM Shrestha, who is also Minister for Local Development.

A panel has been formed at the Ministry of Local Development (MoLD) to streamline foreign-funded direct projects through

state mechanisms. The MoLD also warned

all Local Development Officers to not

accept such projects without prior approval from the ministry.

Currently, only India enjoys such privileges in Nepal, but of late, China has also expressed its desire to select and fund its own projects. “What will happen if we receive funds from foreigners that are greater than our national budget? asked Shrestha.

‘GP prepares Indian agenda’

Meanwhile, the MoFA also took serious issue with Chief of the Armed Police Force, Kosh Raj Onta’s actions while preparing agenda for bilateral security talks with India, which concluded on Monday in New Delhi. Questions were raised about Onta’s tabling of one of the items on the agenda which proposes to provide security to Indian companies operating in Nepal at a Cabinet meeting. However, the agenda was later endorsed by the PM and ministers from the Madhesi Morcha without any amendment.

“The security of Indian companies and their investment should be on the Indian agenda, not ours. If the Indian side raises the issue, we should commit to provide security as required. But unfortunately, the Nepali side proposed it and we endorsed it amid great humiliation,” said one Cabinet minister.

A ruckus erupted at the Cabinet meeting when PM Bhattarai ruled that the Nepali

side can forward agendas of this type.

“We prepared the agenda by going one

step forward, trying to appease India. This

is a wrong practice,” said the Cabinet

minister. “Such practices will set the

wrong precedence.”

Posted on: 2012-12-05 08:35