Nepal for south-south cooperation: Pandey

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KATHMANDU, APR 21 – Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey has emphasised the need to further partnership between the two regions to cope with the emerging challenges that are both complex and multi-dimensional.

Addressing the Asian-African Ministerial Meeting held at the Jakarta International Convention Centre in the Indonesian capital on Monday, Minister Pandey said Nepal upholds the fundamental principles adopted by the 1955 Bandung Conference that not only guide “our external relations but also constitute the solid basis for Asian-African solidarity, friendship and cooperation”.

Focusing on the significance of the conference’s theme “promoting South-South Cooperation for world peace and prosperity”, Pandey said that reinvigoration of  political understanding and solidarity is critical for ensuring sustainable peace, stability and development in the two regions.

“We can achieve this by promoting and respecting inter-cultural harmony, religious tolerance, human rights and fundamental freedoms and by effectively combating all forms of extremism, intolerance, hatred, terrorism and other transnational crimes,” he said

Referring to the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership adopted in 2005, he also highlighted the need to address the specific challenges of the least developed countries, landlocked countries, small island developing states as well as the countries in situation of conflict or emerging from conflict. “Our solidarity is the key to our collective strength at a time when the international community is engaged in framing the post-2015 development agenda, encompassing the sustainable development goals and targets to create the world we want, and leaving no one behind,” he told the meeting which is expected to recommend three documents–Declaration on Reinvigorating the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership, Declaration on Palestine and Bandung Message–for adoption by the Asian-African Conference.

The Nepali delegation also include Acting Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi; Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations in New York Durga Prasad Bhattarai; Joint Secretary and Spokesperson at Foreign Ministry Tara Prasad Pokharel; Under Secretary Lok Bahadur Poudel Chhetri.

Pandey also held a bilateral meeting with Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn on the sidelines of the ministerial meet co-chaired by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno RP Marsudi and South African Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.