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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Nepalis in Qatar may finally get a new ambassador

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

After more than two years, the government of Nepal looks set to send a new ambassador for its nationals in Qatar.

Last week, Nepal’s Cabinet recommended more than two dozen names of people who could serve as ambassadors for the country around the world, local media reported.

For Qatar, Mahendra Singh has been put forward as the prospective new representative in Qatar. He is a professor at Nepal’s Tribhuvan University, Himalayan Times reports.

At least 22 ambassador positions worldwide have been vacant or their current titleholder’s positions are about to end.

The suggested names have to be approved by the country’s Parliamentary Hearings Committee and Singh would also need the Qatar government’s sign-off before he can formally be named as the new envoy, the newspaper added.

Other Gulf countries set to replace outgoing ambassadors or fill vacant positions include the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. However, no nominated name has yet been received for Oman.

No ambassador

No timeline has been given for when the new ambassadors are expected to start.

If approved, a new envoy would likely be welcomed by Qatar’s 400,000-strong Nepali community, which has been without an ambassador for years.

Nepal’s previous envoy in Qatar, Dr. Maya Kumari Sharma, was recalled by her government in September 2013, over what at the time was said to be dissatisfaction with her diplomatic performance.

Video still of Maya Kumari Sharma
Video still of Maya Kumari Sharma

She was less than halfway through a four-year posting that began in May 2012.

One of the main issues with Sharma appeared to be frank remarks she made to the BBC Sajha Sawal (“common questions”) show in June 2013, saying “Qatar is an open jail.”

When Qatar complained about the comment, she apologized.

At the time, Sharma also sent a letter to Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs department, calling for an investigation into Nepali media for its reports on Qatar. The note incensed journalists there.

The current head of mission in Qatar is Mani Ratna Sharma, who fills the post as chargé d’Affaires, according to the Embassy in Qatar’s website.

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