Sunday, 5 October 2008

Bhutan : Lyonchhen meets Nepal’s new PM Prachanda

4 October, 2008 - The two prime ministers, Lyonchhen Jigmi Y Thinley and prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) of Nepal met on the sidelines of the 63rd session of the UN general assembly. The lyonchhen said that they discussed how the importance and diversification of the relationship between the two countries “should not be held ransom by this single issue of people in the camps”.

“The Nepal PM and I have agreed to give everything a fresh look. We share the same kind of challenges as well as opportunities, both bilaterally and multilaterally,” said the Lyonchhen. “I told the Nepal PM that we should keep on discussing and resolve the issue.”

This was the first ever meeting between both prime ministers of Bhutan and Nepal. Both the prime ministers were recently elected to power.

Lyonchhen Jigmi Thinley informed the Bhutanese media that more than 4,000 people have been resettled in the United States, Canada, and Australia. “I think it’s fairly good progress. We talked about it and we did agree that we would give this our high priority,” said the Lyonchhen.

The Prime Minister also met some world leaders and Bhutan’s development partners, including the Prime Ministers of the Netherlands, Australia and Iceland among others.

He also met with the secretary general of the United Nations, heads of the UN agencies, the vice president of the World Bank and others.

“They were heartened by Bhutan’s experience and there were incidences of assured continuous support from these countries and the agencies,” said Lyonchhen Jigmi Thinley.

The delegation, led by the foreign minister Lyonpo Ugyen Tshering, had separate meetings with other foreign ministers.

Lyonchhen said that it was very important for him to attend the 63rd session of the UN general assembly because this is the first time that Bhutan was participating as the youngest democratic member of the UN. He said that the world had been pleasantly surprised and inspired by the peaceful manner of transition, quite unlike the experience of other countries.

“As a least developed country, as a country that is still aid-dependent, it was very important that not only we tell the world our stories but give cause to our development partners for satisfaction in the way in which they have indirectly supported this whole transition,” said the Lyonchhen.

He said that he also attended the dinner gala of the Bhutan Foundation (involved in raising funds for NGOs in Bhutan) and gave them a briefing on how they can support Bhutan’s development. The PM was also the guest of honour at the inauguration of the Dragon’s Gift: Sacred Arts of Bhutan, in New York. He said that, according to the organisers, the number of participants exceeded that in any of the earlier events.

Lyonchhen Jigmi Y Thinley also met with the growing Bhutanese community in New York and explained to them the developments in Bhutan and assured them of the government’s full support.

The Lyonchhen said that the government would launch the GNH indicators, which have been developed by CBS sometime this month. “Once it’s launched, we intend to incorporate them in the 10th Plan and we’ll be measured against these happiness indicators,” he said.

By Tenzing Lamsang & Phuntsho Choden

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