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Awesome in America


KASHISH DAS SHRESTHA in NEW YORK


PRASHANT JHA
BLACK CAR RIDES: Just back from his official visit to India, PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal flew to New York on Saturday to attend the 63rd UN General Assembly. Dahal has been meeting up with several world leaders and top US officials, discussing bilateral ties and progress in Nepal's peace process.

After arriving here on Tuesday, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal hadn't a moment free until his first full Nepali meal at the residence of Nepal's UN ambassador, Madhu Raman Acharya.

An NYPD patrol car was parked on the kerb, there were more black cars across the street and more security on the hallway outside Acharya's Upper East Side apartment at the Wednesday lunch. Nepal's ambassador to Washington, Suresh Chalise was also present.

The prime minister looked pleased and calm, if a little dazed, as he took a helping of cake for dessert. Speaking earlier at the Asia Society-a talk moderated by the former deputy chief of UNMIN, Tamarat Samuel-Dahal emphasised the "economic revolution" that he said could consolidate peace in Nepal.

The predominantly non-Nepali audience seemed impressed with the former guerrilla's direct answers to questions. Responding to skeptics in the audience about his commitment to parliamentary democracy, Dahal said: "We are in a democratic phase and we are going to apply the democratic form of government, this is quite clear."

On Wednesday evening, Dahal attended a reception hosted by the Nepal mission at Sunnyside in Queens. Representatives of overseas Nepali organisations from Arizona and Canada are in New York to attend Dahal's talk at the New School's India China Institute on Friday and another one in Astoria, Queens, on Saturday.

Before his talk at the New School, Dahal will attend an invitation-only round table and a private dinner hosted by the India China Institute which will be attended by Under-Secretary General of the UN, Angela Kane, the former Norwegian Minister for International Development, Hilde Johnson, UNMIN's Ian Martin and former Assistant Secretary-General of the UN, Kul Chandra Gautam.

"This is an opportunity for the prime minister to meet scholars and experts including Nepali community leaders, and to get a sense of how deeply people care about Nepal," said Ashok Gurung, senior director of the India China Institute.

On Monday evening Dahal attended a reception hosted by US President George Bush where the two shook hands and spoke briefly. Later, he met US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavarov and officials from Cuba, Mongolia and Qatar.

He hasn't met Ban Ki Moon yet, but his press office said a meeting may take palce on Saturday. "Obviously Nepal is an important country for us and we have a major office set up there," a UN spokesperson said.

Nepal's Foreign Secretary Gyan Chandra Acharya told Nepali Times: "This is the first major international platform for Nepal since the changes and I think it's been successful in allowing us to explain our situation and garner their interest and support."

Dahal's address to the UN General Assembly is slated for Friday morning and he will raise the problems of Least Developed Countries, development and trade and Nepal's contribution to UN peacekeeping.

SEE ALSO
Prime Minster Pushpa Kamal Dahal at New School



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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