Foreign envoys advise Nepal PM not to visit Iran

Pressure diplomacy is going on as the PM prepares to embark on a visit to Iran to participate in NAM summit.

Updated: Aug 23, 2012, 21:27 PM IST

Kathmandu: Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai`s proposed visit to Tehran, to attend the Non Aligned Movement Summit, has come under controversy as Nepal-based foreign envoys are learnt to have advised the Prime Minister not to visit Iran at this critical juncture.

Pressure diplomacy is going on as the PM prepares to embark on a visit to Iran to participate in the 16th Non Aligned Movement summit, according to national dailies including The Himalayan Times.

Envoys of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Israel are learnt to have urged Nepal PM to ensure a non-prime ministerial-level Nepali delegation to Tehran for the NAM summit scheduled for August 26 to 31, according to foreign ministry sources.

However, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Arjun Thapa denied the media reports.

"We don`t have any such information regarding the advice given to the Prime Minister by the foreign diplomats," he said when asked for comment.

Last week Prime Minister Bhattarai decided that he would visit Tehran on August 29 leading a 20-member delegation.

He is also scheduled to address the NAM summit.

Immediately after the decision, these countries have been persistently urging Nepal to scale down the visit, arguing that such a high-profile visit, led by the prime minister, would mean Nepal`s green signal to Iran`s `aggressive policy` towards Israel and the West and ?its quest to acquire nuclear weapons`.

Israeli Ambassador Hanan Goder Goldberger and Deputy Chief of Mission of the UK Embassy, Guy Harrison, today met senior officials at Ministry of Foreign Affairs to convey their concerns, according to The media reports.

`Nepal does not support any terrorist activities in any form and manifestation,` Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayankaji Shrestha was quoted by The Himalayan Times as saying.