Blinken dials Nepal’s new PM Deuba; discusses bilateral ties, Covid-19 situation & climate change – Times of India


WASHINGTON/ KATHMANDU: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has discussed with Nepal’s new Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba the advancement of bilateral partnership, including cooperation on the fight against Covid-19 and the effects of climate change.
Blinken held a telephonic conversation with Deuba on Tuesday. They emphasised the importance of the US-Nepal partnership and discussed the recent US donation of 1.5 million vaccines and other Covid-19 assistance to Nepal, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said.
“The Secretary and the Prime Minister also discussed our cooperation to combat the effects of climate change,” Price said in a statement.
Earlier, Blinken tweeted that he spoke to Prime Minister Deuba and discussed ways to advance US-Nepal ties, the fight against Covid-19 and the impact of climate change.
“I had the pleasure to speak with Nepali Prime Minister Deuba today. We discussed the advancement of the US-Nepal partnership including cooperation on our shared fight against Covid-19 and the effects of climate change,” the top American diplomat tweeted.
Nepal Prime Minister Deuba said he exchanged views with Blinken in bilateral ties, Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.
“It was my pleasure to talk to @SecBlinken and exchange views on our multifaceted bilateral relations,” Deuba tweeted.
“We renewed the shared commitment to taking forward the cooperative partnership in the interest of our two countries and peoples, said Deuba,” the prime minister said.
In Kathmandu, Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Prime Minister Deuba had a cordial conversation with Blinken.
“Matters relating to bilateral relations and cooperation, including the priority issues of the day, such as, Covid-19 vaccine cooperation and assistance of medical equipment and supplies to Nepal were discussed during the talk,” it said.
The Secretary of State extended warm congratulations to the Prime Minister on his appointment, according to the ministry.
Deuba was appointed as the prime minister for a record fifth time on July 12 following Nepal’s Supreme Court’s intervention.
Prime Minister Deuba appreciated the US Government for providing the Covid-19 vaccine and requested for further assistance of appropriate vaccines to cover children and the younger population for preventing widely speculated a third wave of the pandemic, the foreign ministry said.
Nepal is also looking for more Covid-19 vaccines from US manufacturers like Pfizer and Moderna.
The conversation also covered various areas of Nepal’s development priorities, the United States’ cooperation and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
The MCC programme is aimed to tackle two of Nepal’s most binding constraints to economic growth: low energy supply and high transportation costs.
Deuba and Blinken also discussed “the issue of global warming and climate change and its impact on the economies of climate-vulnerable mountainous countries like Nepal,” the statement said.
Prime Minister Deuba underlined Nepal’s democratic credentials and the commitment to human rights and the rule of law, it said.
Conveying his greetings and best wishes to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Prime Minister Deuba expressed his willingness to work closely with the Biden administration, according to the ministry.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry has said that the US government is positive about providing necessary support to Nepal to help fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
During a meeting with Finance Minister Janardan Sharma on Tuesday, Berry said that the US government will be assisting in the improvement of Nepal’s education and health sectors.
Nepal has so far reported 685,673 cases of Covid-19 with 9,758 deaths.

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