Govt says sorry to German envoy, offers compensation
KATHMANDU, June 20: The government has regretted the vandalising of German Ambassador Verena Gräfin von Roedern´s car and promised an investigation of the incident that has caused diplomatic embarrassment to the nation.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday wrote a letter to this effect to the ambassador, a day after her vehicle was stoned by cadres of the Nepali Congress and the CPN (UML) near Tribhuvan International Airport where the ambassador was going to see off Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. The cadres were protesting the prime minister´s visit to Brazil.
This is the second instance of attack on a foreign ambassador in two years. In 2010, Maoist cadres hurled shoes at then Indian Ambassador Rakesh Sood in Solukhumbu, where he was visiting to inspect Indian-funded projects.
According to sources at the Prime Minister´s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the vehicle of the German envoy, who is also dean of the diplomatic crops in Nepal, was stoned near the entry gate of the country´s only international airport. The vehicle was slightly damaged in the rear but the ambassador was unharmed.
Shortly after the incident, the ambassador reported the incident to senior officials from the Prime Minister´s Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who were present at the airport to see off the departing prime minister.
"It is unfortunate," a government official quoted the ambassador as saying to the high-ranking officials.
An official who overheard the conversation between the ambassador and the officials, told Republica that Chief Secretary Mahadv Ghimire regretted the incident right before the ambassador. "It is unfortunate and the government takes it seriously. The government will investigate and repair the vehicle."
The German Embassy has also expressed concern over the vandalism and sent a diplomatic note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday. In the note, the embassy has asked the government to reimburse the cost to be involved in repairing the vehicle.
In the meantime, the Nepali Congress has also regretted the vandalism in a call to the ambassador. According to a source, party President Sushil Koirala phoned the ambassador shortly after the vandalism and regretted the incident perpetrated by cadres of his party.
"The protest has not gone out of our control," a source quoted Koirala as saying to the ambassador over the phone, Monday.