Embassy Press Releases

INTERVIEW OF H.E. ANDREY L. TROFIMOV, AMBASSADOR OF RUSSIA TO NEPAL, ON THE OCCASION OF THE DAY OF RUSSIA, JUNE 12, 2008

1. May I request Your Excellency to assess the relations exiting between Nepal and the Russian Federation?

Friendship between Russia and Nepal has gone through different historical periods. Its cornerstone was laid down on the 20th July 1956 when our countries entered into diplomatic relations. Since then Russia and Nepal have enjoyed cordial ties irrespective of political systems or dominant ideology. We have created a strong basis for further development of bilateral relations. Russia and Nepal have very close view on many international issues of today and share the basic principles of goodwill and non-interference into internal affairs of sovereign states.

As Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Sergey Lavrov underlined in his message to his Nepali counterpart, “mutual sympathies existing between our countries create a favorable climate for further deepening of political dialogue, closer interaction on the international arena, development of our ties in all fields”. I am confident that guided by the previous experience of bilateral co-operation accumulated during half of a century we can further expand our relations, upgrade them to a new, qualitatively higher level.

2. Russia is one of the best friends of Nepal and has extended financial support to Nepal for the wellbeing of Nepalese people. Is there any plan to provide economic support to Nepal in its efforts of development?

Many projects were implemented in Nepal under the Soviet Union’s assistance including: the Panauti hydropower station, the Kanti Child Hospital, the Burgrunj Tools Factory, the Mahendra Highway (Pathalaya to Dhalkebar) and so forth. Following the disintegration of the USSR in 1991 we manage to retain our economic ties though the potential of the Nepal-Russia cooperation is far from being exhausted. What we need is to find new fields of cooperation beneficial for both countries.

For example, Russia can be a new big market for a wide range of Nepalese products such as carpets, handicrafts, ready-made garments, pashmina, medical herbs. Organically grown Nepalese tea may also be successfully sold in Russia, as Russians are among biggest consumers of tea in the world. There is further scope for expansion of trade, tourism and joint ventures between the two countries.

3. What suggestions does Your Excellency provide to Nepal-Russia Chamber of Commerce and Industry to consolidate economic and commercial link between the people of these two countries?

The Nepal - Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry can greatly contribute to more vigorous economic ties between our nations by taking a leading role in providing the Nepalese trade and business community with the latest information on Russia’s economic potential. NRCCI could and should be more active in organizing all sorts of abovementioned seminars, fairs and round tables.

In order to fill the information vacuum and increase the awareness of existing business opportunities in our countries different kinds of industrial and trade exhibitions could be most helpful. Our countries should also continue to exchange visits of the delegations of the industrialists and trading communities in order to reassess each other’s economic potential in the context of the present-day reality. Various trade seminars, trade fairs, bilateral talks between Nepalese and Russian businessmen - all that should expand economic ties between our nations.

4. Nepal is one of the tourist destinations of the world. Do you have specific suggestions for the promotion of tourism between Nepal and the Russian Federation? Is there any possibility to establish direct air link between Kathmandu and Moscow?

Both Nepal and Russia possess unique historical and cultural heritage coupled with beautiful nature and landscape. Russians view Nepal as a wonderful country with unique history, culture, exquisite art and deeply rooted traditions. And it is symbolic that it was Boris Lissanevitch, Russian by nationality, who discovered Nepal’s unmatched potential and laid the foundation stone for the country’s tourism industry. In 1954 Mr. Lissanevitch founded in Kathmandu the Royal Hotel, the first hotel of the European class, and thus unveiled the country for adventurers from abroad. Nepal presently can offer a wide range of unique tourist opportunities. Last year approximately two thousands Russian tourists visited Nepal and we have to improve this figure in future.

Each year Nepal Tourism Board is participating in annual International Exhibitions for Tourism and Traveling in Moscow. This year in order to promote Nepal as a tourist destination the Embassy of Russia in cooperation with NTB invited a TV crew from one of the leading Russian TV-channels to shoot a series of short films about Nepal. Very soon millions of spectators all over Russia are expected to see these episodes.

Another project, aimed to promote Nepali culture in Russia, which is now being implemented with the support of the Russian Embassy is called “Ethno World”. It is a sort of permanent outdoors exhibition space not far from the Russian capital representing arts, crafts and culture of as many countries of the world as possible. The Embassy of Russia is helping to assure the representation of Nepal in the “Ethno World”.

Of course if we want more Russians to choose Nepal as a place to spend their vacation a direct air connection with Nepal would be of much help. This is why the Embassy has repeatedly raised before Moscow the question of resuming of direct flights between Kathmandu and the Russian capital.

These are, however, just few things to mention among the wide range of measures undertaken by Russian diplomats to promote Nepal as a tourist destination in Russia.

5. May I request Your Excellency to highlight the foreign policy of the Russian Federation?

Historically, Russia has always been a connecting link between East and West. This role has determined the multi-directional character of the Russian foreign policy with the European and Asian vectors complementing each other with the aim of balancing different interests in the international arena, having more security and predictability in the world. Russia actively seeks cooperation with both its closest neighbours, the CIS states, and with other partners from all over the world including, of course, the Asia-Pacific region.

Asia is justly regarded among the main driving forces of world development, whose importance and role will be increased in the foreseeable future. The significance of the Asian thrust for Russian interests will grow accordingly. Here as nowhere else our internal and foreign policy interests conjugate because without an economic basis there can be no strong foundation for our policy in this region. And it is directly connected with the state of affairs in the field of the socioeconomic, infrastructural and other development of Siberia and our Far East.

A distinctive feature of Asia today is the rapid development of the integration processes. The growth of the number of the multilateral associations operation in the region is a vivid reflection of the tendency for collective decision-making (APEC, SAARC, SCO). All in all, there are more than ten such associations in Asia.

The above features of the Asian integration processes create an objective basis for the effective entry into them of Russia, having a strong potential for assisting the solution of the practical problems of the region and consistently upholding the fundamental rules of international law and principles of mutual benefit, the recognition and respect of the lawful interests, national peculiarities and traditions of all members of the international community, cultures and religions.

Our Asian partners understand that not only Russia needs an economically mobile and politically stable Asia, but that Asia itself needs a strong and prosperous Russia. There now becomes increasingly obvious the consideration of a purely pragmatic nature: without the energy, scientific, technological and intellectual potential of Russia, it will be difficult for Asia as a minimum to achieve the aims of general economic prosperity, which is the fundamental idea of Asian integration.

6. What opinion and policy does the Russian Federation have towards the new situation taking place in Nepal at present?

Moscow welcomes the fact of the hold of the Constituency Assembly elections and expresses its hope that the results of the elections will contribute to strengthening of the national integrity and harmony, as well as to the consolidation of statehood and development of democracy in friendly Nepal. The hold of the election in Nepal became only possible due to the will of the major political forces of Nepal as well as to the support of the international community, primarily of the United Nations.

We hope that during this new historical period, which Nepal has entered after the hold of the elections, the cordial relations which so happily exist between our two countries will further strengthen for our mutual benefit. And as the President of Russia has recently said “we plan to intensify the most important areas of Russian-Nepalese cooperation, both on a bilateral basis and within the framework of international organizations”.

7. What message does Your Excellency wish to convey to the people of Nepal and Russian Federation on the occasion of National Day of Russian Federation?

On the occasion of the Day of Russia I wish you all good health, stability prosperity. I believe that Russians along with the Nepalese and other nations of the world should take a look ahead and set reasonable goals for their countries. Together we must make sure for the world to become better place to live for everyone and do our best to make the globe one big and friendly community.