Government advised to explore maximum opportunities during Qatari Emir’s state visit

KATHMANDU: Former ministers and experts on foreign affairs have advised the government to give priority to utilising the visit of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, to Nepal, to secure maximum benefits.  The Emir from Qatar will be paying a two-day state visit to Nepal beginning on April 23, tomorrow.

They believed that Nepal could learn ways from Qatar, a country with a small geography and size, to explore ways for achieving prosperity in a short period in the presence of a far-sighted leadership with maximum utilisation of available resources.

Former minister Surendra Kumar Karki praised the role of Qatar in contributing to the international peace establishment significantly, though the country is territorially smaller.

He said that Qatar is exploring its facilitating and decisive roles in establishing regional peace, strengthening international relations and managing significant political tension.

Nepal could learn many things from the experiences of Qatar in efforts to achieve peace when it is pursuing the establishment of a durable peace after the conflict by concluding the peace process, he added.

Besides, Qatar serves as one of the major labor destinations for Nepali migrant workers. Nepal receives a large chunk of remittance from Qatar. The high-level visit taking place from Qatar will be utilised as a moment for promoting the rights of Nepali workers in Qatar and their dignity with the availability of decent job opportunities for them.

The former Minister and Maoist Center leader suggested that it would be beneficial for Nepal if the visit could be utilised as an opportunity to bring about Qatar’s investment in the processing of drinking water in the Himalayan regions and the production of organic agricultural products.

CPN-UML leader and expert on foreign affairs, Dr Rajan Bhattarai commended the path of prosperity that Qatar has found amidst severe climate adversity and limited human resources.  Qatar is advancing itself through a multi-dimensional approach, it is exploring its leading role in the global forum and a significant role in dispute management in the Middle Eastern nations, according to Bhattarai.

Stating that Qatar is seeking to establish itself as a ‘world champion’ in the resolution of the unrest in the Middle East including in Hamas and Israel, he said Qatar is being developed as an international transit hub in the course of its efforts to expand air connectivity in the global forum.

From the diplomatic perspective, the Qatari Emir’s upcoming visit to Nepal stands as a symbol and an example that Nepal is moving on a positive path. “Qatar is an economically prosperous country in the Middle East. Over 400,000 Nepali migrant workers are working in Qatar at present. Nepali migrant workers have shed blood and sweat for the development and prosperity of Qatar. Against this backdrop, the visit of Qatari Emir to Nepal is a matter of great importance and an opportunity,’ he observed.

Stating that Nepal could also benefit from Qatar’s advancement for the economic development and prosperity, he emphasised creating an enabling environment in Nepal for job creations for the youths rather than sending labor forces offshore.

Dr Bhattarai further asserted, “There’s a high prospect of investment in Nepal from Qatar and other Middle East countries. Export from Nepal to Qatar could be increased. Nepal has been importing fuel in a huge quantity. We could make an effort to secure some concessional cooperation towards this end as well. Nepal should pitch these issues and advance the discussion during the visit.”

According to him, securing the welfare of the Nepali migrant workers in Qatar and addressing the issues relating to their employment should be a part of the regular agenda of the Nepal’s government during Emir’s visit.

Bhattarai added, “Qatar has achieved economic prosperity in the last few years by capitalising on its natural resources. It is advancing in terms of development and economic prosperity thanks to an able leadership with a good vision coupled with political stability. It has taught us a lesson that we could move ahead by optimising the natural resources.”

Similarly, Nepali Congress leader and former minister for foreign affairs Dr Narayan Khadka opined that Qatar was succeeding diplomatically and economically lately. “Countries like the USA and the UK among others have been seeking Qatar’s mediation in any form in resolving the dispute between Israel and Hamas,” he mentioned.

He viewed that discussion and consultation on the facilities for the Nepali migrant workers in Qatar should be held during the Emir’s visit. He suggested a timely amendment in the labor pact between Nepal and Qatar.

According to him, the Qatari Emir’s visit in the eve of the third Investment Summit was an opportune time to create an environment of confidence for the international community to consider investment in Nepal.

Khadka expressed his belief that the ties between the two countries could be expanded at people-to-people level if a training center would be established in cooperation with Qatar to impart training to aspiring Nepali migrant workers.

He suggested Nepal should accord hospitality with heart wide open to the Qatari Emir who is arriving here for his two-day official visit by giving Nepal so much value and importance.

‘Initiatives should be taken to raise pay, facilities of Nepali workers’

Similarly, Dr Narad Bhardwaj who served as Nepal’s ambassador to Qatar from 2019 to 2022 has suggested utilising the Emir’s visit, which is the first high-level visit from the Middle East Asian kingdom, for securing the rights and interests of the Nepali migrant workers there.

Nearly 400 thousand Nepalis are working in different sectors in Qatar at present. According to Dr Bhardwaj, the Qataris also have interest on this topic as they are impressed by the Nepali workers.

“The government of Nepal should take initiatives on increasing the salary and job security of Nepali migrant workers in Qatar and their welfare. This is the high-level visit taken from Qatar and if the Qatari Emir gives his approval during his state visit there would not be any problem in the implementation,” former ambassador Bhardwaj said.

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