Norwegian State Secy arrives on two-day official visit

State Secretary for Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Morten Hoglund, arrived in Kathmandu on a two-day official visit on Tuesday.

The purpose of the visit is political consultation and discussions on Norway-Nepal relations including the bilateral development cooperation, said Norwegian embassy sources.

Norway has been assisting Nepal in its development efforts for quite some time now. Government-to-government development cooperation commenced with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 1996.

In accordance with Nepal’s own priorities, Norway had chosen to concentrate its assistance on basic and primary education, hydropower and energy, human rights, decentralisation and peace support through UN agencies, good governance and private sector development (with focus on hydropower and electrification).

Besides government-to-government cooperation, Norway has channeled its assistance through multilateral agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations. Nepal has been receiving assistance from regional and global funds, including support for the private sector, non-governmental and multilateral organisations, and technical assistance in specific areas.

The Government of Norway has provided NOK 30.6 million for Nepal Peace Trust Fund. Norway annually offers NORAD fellowships to Government of Nepal in different fields of study aiming at human resources development of Nepal.

After the restoration of democracy in the country, Norway reversed the decision taken in July 2005 to reduce its support to Nepal by 10%. It continued the support to rural electrification through the ESAP programme and activities to share Norwegian experiences for peace processes. It also granted aid to the National Election Observation Committee jointly with Denmark and Canada.

State secretary Hoglund is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, Minister for Finance, Dr Ram Sharman Mahat, Minister for Energy Radha Kumari Gyawali, and Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare Nilam KC.

The Norwegian State Secretary was received by Norwegian Ambassador to Nepal Kjell Tormod Pettersen, officials at the embassy and officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Finance.

Source: THT