Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 2nd March 2005.

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Photo of Mr David Stewart Mr David Stewart PPS (Rt Hon Alistair Darling, Secretary of State), Department for Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had regarding (a) the current situation in Nepal and (b) the safety of British non-governmental organisations in the area; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Douglas Alexander Douglas Alexander Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Trade) (also Department of Trade and Industry), Minister of State (Department of Trade and Industry) (Trade) (also Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

We have held discussions about the current situation in Nepal with both the Nepalese authorities and our international partners. Following the King's takeover of power on 1 February I summoned the Nepalese Ambassador to convey our grave concerns. Our Ambassador in Nepal also had an audience with the King to convey the same message. On 14 February my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary recalled our Ambassador to Nepal for consultations, in step with similar action by the US, EU, Indians and others. The Foreign Secretary held discussions on Nepal with his Indian counterparts during his recent visit to India and we have also discussed Nepal with other international parties at official level.

The Government take any threat to the safety of United Kingdom nationals in Nepal, as elsewhere, very seriously. The British embassy in Nepal has been in close contact with British NGOs since the early days of the Maoist insurgency and offers regular briefings on security to new arrivals as well as making provision for assistance in times of emergency through a system of local volunteer wardens in which representatives of British NGOs take part.

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