Saturday, March 28, 2009

PM Prachanda leaves for weeklong Europe tour - Norway and Finland

Prime Minister Prachanda left for a week-long visit to Norway and Finland Saturday.

The PM left for Norway at 5 pm by a special flight. Ministers, leaders of the PM's party, Unified CPN (Maoist), security chiefs, foreign envoys and government officials were present at the Tribhuvan International Airport to see him off.

PM's 19-member entourage includes his wife Sita, son Prakash, who is a computer operator at the PM's personal secretariat, and business leaders and government officials.

The government delegation includes chief secretary Dr Bhoj Raj Ghimire, PM's foreign affair advisor Hira Bahadur Thapa, foreign secretary Gyan Chandra Acharya, media advisor Om Sharma, chief of protocol Arun Dhital and joint secretary at the foreign ministry Pradhyumna Bikram Shah. Likewise, three security personnel - Lt Col. Arun Pal, Major Sunil Singh Rathor and DSP Ram Chandra Bhandari and PM's personal physician Dr Arun Sayami are also traveling with him.

Representatives of business community including FNCCI president Kush Kumar Joshi, president of Federation of NRN Association, Upendra Mahato, chairman of Himalayan Bank, Manoj Bahadur Shrestha, chairman of Global Bank Limited, Chandra Dhakal, and water resources expert Gyanendra Lal Pradhan are also participating in the visit.

PM Prachanda will meet his Norwegian and Finnish counterparts, senior government officials and business leaders during the visit. An agreement on development aid is expected to be signed between Norway and Nepal.

Meanwhile, before flying to Norway PM Prachanda held a meeting with leaders of five ruling parties and two opposition parties - Nepali Congress and Terai Madhesh Loktantrik Party.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting held at the Unified CPN-M's Parliamentary Party office in Singha Durbar, Prachanda claimed that he was embarking on the Nordic trip after wining the confidence of the parties.

He said the visit would be focused primarily on garnering support from Norway and Finland in hydropower and 'wind energy' development to address Nepal's energy crisis.

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