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U.S., Nepal longstanding partners: Alice Wells

By Manoj Rijal, NEW YORK: United States Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells has said that the U.S. and Nepal are longstanding partners and that Nepal has a very special place in the hearts of Americans.

“We very much as a longstanding partner of Nepal, want to see Nepal grow, its people prosper, the economy expand, and the country continue to recover from the post-earthquake crisis,” Wells said during an interaction program with journalists in New York.

“Nepal occupies a very special place in the hearts of Americans. It’s the only country that the Congress has a single-country trade preference for, and so we’re always trying to be entrepreneurial in how we can help Nepal make this democratic venture a success,” she said.

Recalling her meeting with Nepal’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradip Gyawali at the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly, Wells said she underscored the U.S. interest in working with the incumbent Nepal government and in moving forward with our $500 million Millennium Challenge Corporation compact (assistance) that the U.S. has provided to Nepal.

“The US attaches great importance to democratic principles that we share with our partners and the safeguarding of democratic institutions,” she said during her meeting with Minister Gyawali

On her recent visit to Nepal in August, she said she was impressed with the level of commitment of Nepal to democracy and the conclusion of three tiers of elections – local, provincial and federal, in Nepal.

“Nepal’s role as a model to other countries in the region who are also continuing down a road to democratization is very important,” she said.

As Wells met with other South and Central Asian leaders at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, she said her stress was on reaffirming the US commitment for a free, open and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.

“ASEAN is critical to our efforts to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region, but there are other dialogue mechanisms with Japan and Australia that can reinforce these initiatives,” she said.

“They are mechanisms of opportunities, rather than alliances, for bringing the very like-minded countries together to coordinate programs like development finance, ensuring high quality in infrastructure projects and ensuring return of the investment,” Wells added.

Published Date: Sunday, September 30th, 2018 | 09:48 PM

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