US Special Coordinator for Tibet Uzra Zeya arrives in Kathmandu

US Under Secretary of State, Uzra Zeya, arrived in Kathmandu on a three-day visit on Friday, after concluding her trip to India.

Zeya, who looks after civil security, democracy and human rights at the State Department, is also the US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Affairs. She had held talks with the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan religious leaders during her stay in India.

In Kathmandu, Zeya will be visiting Tibetan camps on Saturday where she will meet Tibetan refugees living in Nepal and listen to their grievances, according multiple media reports. However, the government of Nepal has said that it is not aware of such meetings to be held in Kathmandu.

Beijing had opposed her India visit and meeting with Tibetan leaders.

Nepal has been committed to the ‘One China’ policy since long.

At a press conference organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sewa Lamsal expressed her ignorance about the possible meeting between the visiting US delegation and the Tibetan leaders.

Maintaining that the government is not aware of any programme of the US delegation to go to the Tibetan camps and meet the Tibetan refugees, Lamsal said that the government does not know about the other programmes besides the meetings with political leaders.

“We are aware about the meetings between her (Zeya) and government leaders and officials, but we do not know about her private engagements,” Lamsal said.

During her three-day stay in Nepal, Zeya will meet Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka and other officials.

Lamsal said that the issue of human rights and democracy could be raised during the meetings, but “our commitment towards them is very much understandable”.

“Nepal is committed to human rights and democracy. Prime Minister Deuba had attended the Democracy Conference organised by US President Joe Biden in December last year,” she said.

This year also marks the 75th anniversary of Nepal-US diplomatic ties and the visit will further consolidate and strengthen the bilateral ties between Nepal and the US, she added.

She reiterated that discussions will be held on various aspects of bilateral relations and human rights and other issues.

Lamsal said that overall, the visit of the US Under Secretary of State would be concluded within the framework of Nepal’s foreign policy.

Nepal has hosted around 20,000 refugees while around 7,000 are undocumented. They don’t have refugee identity cards. The US and some section of the Western countries have been pressing Nepal to provide refugee identity cards to the Tibetans.

Lamsal reminded that Nepal pursues the One China policy and claimed that Uzra Zeya would not go beyond that and meet Tibetan refugees.

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