KATHMANDU: Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on Saturday said that government expected cooperation in investment, technology and tourism from France.
“Nepal expects French cooperation in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), technology transfer and development and tourism. We also want to enhance the current collaborations happening in development as well as cultural and educational spheres,” said Gyawali while addressing a programme organised on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between Nepal and France.
France is the fourth country to establish bilateral diplomatic relations with Nepal. They established the relations in 1949.
France is the fourth import and eighth export partner of Nepal.
According to him, at a time when Nepal has prioritised the socio-economic development of the country on the backdrop of political achievements, it looks up to France for a stronger bilateral collaboration and cooperation. “In particular, our priority is to enhance economic partnership in the areas of foreign direct investment, trade expansion, tourism linkages and technology transfer,” he said.
The Foreign Minister appreciated the French support in socio-economic development in Nepal and said that Nepal needs French investment, especially in large infrastructure projects here.
“Both the countries have continued to be nurtured by goodwill, trust and mutual respect on both sides. Over the decades France has extended support and cooperation towards Nepal’s socio-economic development efforts,” said Gyawali.
He also said that the formation of Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Groups in the parliaments of Nepal and France would be instrumental in expanding and deepening friendly ties between the two countries.
According to him, the two friendly states have a crucial role to play in global issues such as peace and security, climate change, peace keeping and multilateralism.
He said that the 70th anniversary might be the right occasion for high-level political contacts.
“High-level political contacts are extremely important in strengthening any diplomatic relationship. It has been quite long time since we had an exchange of high-level visits at the political level. The 70th anniversary may be the right occasion for this,” he said.
Likewise, substantive economic component is very much critical for enhancing a bilateral partnership, and further economic engagements in the mutually beneficial areas will be in the interests of both countries, he said.
He also said that cultural contacts and people-to-people relations constitute another aspect of bilateral relations. “This is nurtured by mutual love and goodwill prevalent at the grassroots level of our societies. Our partnership can prosper only when the public, including the diaspora communities, get engaged,” he said.
French Ambassador to Nepal Francois-Xavier Leger stressed on economic partnership between the two countries.
He said that France was exploring avenues on how French aid could be mobilised in Nepal. According to him, France-Nepal cooperation in mountaineering began as early as 1980s.
“Nepal is an attractive destination for French tourists. Every year more than 32,000 French people come here. There is also a long lasting cooperation in mountaineering,” said Leger.
He pointed towards the need for increasing people to people contact and said that there would be some high level political exchanges and business cooperation this year.
The programme was jointly organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and French Embassy in Kathmandu.
A musical programme followed the event in the evening where Cellist Franck Bernede presented solo performances, and in the later part Bidur Rajkarnikar and Santosh Bhakta Shrestha joined him.
Miss Nepal Shrinkhala Khatiwada, who is also the goodwill ambassador for the 70th year commemoration of the Nepal-France relationship, said that both the countries had similarity in environmental sustainability.
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