US envoy may visit Nepal

December 3rd, 2008 - 4:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Dec 3 (IANS) The first Maoist-led government of Nepal is seeing a spurt in visits by foreign envoys with the US likely to send a top official close on the heels of India and China.Richard Boucher, US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs is expected to arrive in Kathmandu Dec 9 for consultations with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav and other dignitaries.

The Maoists, a guerrilla party in the past who fought a 10-year armed war from 1996, still remain on the US State Department’s Watchlist of terror organisations though they laid down arms two years ago and contested in elections this year.

Prachanda had met Boucher in September, when he went to New York to attend the UN General Assembly and had asked the official to lift the ban on his party in view of the changed political landscape in Nepal.

Boucher’s visit comes after China sent its Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi to woo the Maoist government and sought its continued support to suppress protests by Tibetans. Prior to Yang, India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had visited Nepal.

Also in Nepal last month were Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Miller, British Minister for International Development Mike Foster and South Korean Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Kim Yong II.

There has been one military delegation from China, a visit by British army chief Richard Dannatt and a fresh military delegation was expected from China Saturday.

Not to be outdone, there have been three visits by three top UN officials, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon himself.

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