Republic Day function organised in Washington DC
|US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake and Ambassador Sharma speaking at the function organized to celebrate Nepal's Republic Day in Washington DC.
To celebrate the National Republic Day of Nepal, Nepalese ambassador to the USA, Dr. Shankar P. Sharma, hosted a reception at Washington, DC on Wednesday. The formal program commenced with national anthem of Nepal followed by USA. Following the national anthem, Ambassador Sharma welcomed all distinguished guests and paid homage to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the cause of democracy and republican system of governance in Nepal.
Ambassador Sharma, on behalf of the government and people of Nepal extended heartfelt condolences to the Government and the people of the United States on the massive loss of lives and property by the tornado in Oklahoma USA on May 20, 2013.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Sharma highlighted major achievements including the completion of peace process and engagement of the people from all spheres of communities in drafting the constitution. He mentioned about the preparation of election of Parliament and Constituent Assembly in Nepal. He also underscored the impressive progress made by the country on several social indicators including decline in poverty, increase in school enrollments, fall in mortality rates and progress made on gender disparities and economic growth.
Ambassador Sharma while referring to the areas of US cooperation in Nepal such as health, education, agriculture, governance, infrastructure and humanitarian crisis, affirmed that such assistance has helped to improve socio-economic conditions of the people of Nepal.
Ambassador Sharma lauded increase in the American assistance to Nepal despite budgetary challenges in the US. He further mentioned that Nepal has been chosen as priority country in Health Assistance Program and Feed the Future Presidential Initiatives. Similarly, the formation of Nepal caucus in the US House of Representative, resumption of US Peace Corps in Nepal, signing of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), selection of Nepal as threshold country for Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), ranking of Nepal at 11th position among the countries of origin of international students in the United States and the increasing trends of American tourists visiting Nepal are significant achievements.
Dr. Sharma also underscored that US cooperation in Nepal encompasses from sustaining peace, strengthening democracy to disaster preparedness.
Speaking on the occasion, as Chief Guest, Assistant Secretary of State, South Asia and Central Asia of the US State Department, Robert O. Blake, congratulated the Government and people of Nepal and expressed best wishes on the occasion of National Republic Day on behalf of President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and on his own behalf.
He outlined that Nepal has most enthusiastic cadres of support in the United States such as the returned Peace Corps volunteers or other Americans who have had wonderful experience of one sort or other in Nepal. Saying that they are very eager to maintain strong ties with Nepal, he expressed happiness over the resumption of Peace Corps last year in the country.
Assistant Secretary Blake noted that Nepal has made tremendous progress with regard to peace process and expressed his confidence that people of Nepal would be able to finalize the constitution. He also underlined recent agreement between major political parties in Nepal on the election of new Constituent Assembly which he said is an important step in democratic development of Nepal. He mentioned the progress made to reduce poverty, raise education and health level in Nepal and noted that USAID has been a partner to realize these progresses. He expressed his government’s desire and program to reach out to the young people who represent the future of Nepal, and informed that the US Embassy in Kathmandu is reaching out to them in an innovative way.
He reiterated the US support to Nepal and Nepalese people for the socio-economic development of the country and expressed his hope that overall US assistance to Nepal will further strengthen Nepal-US relations as well as deliver tangible benefit to the people of Nepal.
Deputy Secretary of State of Maryland, Rajan R. Natarajan was also present on the occasion. He expressed good wishes on behalf of the Governor of Maryland on the occasion of Republic Day and read out the proclamation from the Governor Martin O Malley of the State of Maryland in which the Governor expressed solidarity to celebrate the day. The Governor spoke about the contribution made by Nepalese Americans in the area of civic, culture and economy in the State of Maryland.
Senior officials from the State Department, White House, Capitol Hill,, Peace Crops, United States Trade Representatives, Millennium Challenge Corporation were present on the occasion. Likewise, Ambassadors and representatives of diplomatic community in Washington DC, friends of Nepal, large number of Nepalese diaspora community residing in the greater Washington DC area and Embassy officials and their family members were also present on the occasion. The reception was held at Holiday Inn Georgetown in Washington DC. The formal program was conducted by Mr. Arjun Kant Mainali, Deputy Chief of Mission. nepalnews.com