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Emir of Qatar arrives in Nepal on state visit, honouring relationship it declares today a public holiday

The Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, arrived in Kathmandu for a two-day state visit on Tuesday at the friendly invitation of President of Nepal Ramchandra Paudel. The Qatari Emir arrived here this afternoon on a special plane upon completion of his State visit to Bangladesh. On arrival, A contingent of the Nepali Army presented a guard of honour, the Emir of Qatar was received in the VVIP lounge of Tribhuvan International Airport by President Ramchandra Paudel, Vice President Ram Sahaya Prasad Yadav, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and other senior government officials.

In the evening, a high-level meeting was held in Gandaki Hall in Shital Niwas. During the meeting, matters related to bilateral interests and diplomatic relations were discussed including boosting investment in Nepal, climate change and the release of Nepali Student Bipin Joshi who went missing after the attack of Hamas in Israel. The Emir of Qatar Al Thani appreciated Nepali workers in Qatar who have contributed to Qatar’s development while Nepal praised Qatar’s effort in peacebuilding in the Middle East. President Paudel hosted a banquet in honour of Qatari Emir Al Thani in the evening.

A meeting of the Emir Al Thani and Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda is scheduled at 10 am on Wednesday where Nepal and Qatar will sign MoUs in various areas including education, youth and sports and scientific research.   Both State-run news agencies- RSS and QNA- will sign an MoU for the free exchange of news services. 

The city is adorned with welcome gates and banners along major roads and intersections in honour of the high-profile dignitary from Qatar. In light of the Emir’s visit, the government has declared a public holiday for today, suggesting the diplomatic significance of the visit. Security is beefed up in the area of the Emir’s Stay in Soaltee Hotel and Dwarka Hotel where other events will take place tomorrow.

This is the first visit by any Qatari Emir to Nepal ever since the two countries established diplomatic relations on January 21, 1977. Nepal opened its embassy in Doha, Qatar on July 11, 2000, and Qatar its embassy in Nepal in Kathmandu in August 2011. The visit is expected to help elevate the bilateral relations between Nepal and Qatar to a new height. The Qatari Emir’s visit marks the first highest-level visit from the entire Middle East to Nepal. Qatar serves as one of the major labour destinations for Nepal.

By Sweta Singh (Kathmandu)

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