An Interview with H.E. Mr. Michel JOLIVET (14 th july 2006)
How do Your Excellency assess the relationship between Nepal and France?
The relationship between Nepal and France as always been good and friendly. It dates back to 1950 when Maurice Herzog was the first man to climb Annapurna I (and an overthousander peak). Since that time, Nepal has been a mythical country in the eyes of the French people. This is why, despite the civil war, some 16000 French tourists visited Nepal last year. On the international scene, Nepal and France share most the time the same views. Both are, strongly attached to cultural diversity, to quote just one example. I hope that, in a context of reconciliation and return to peace, our relationship will expand further and bear more fruit.
France has been extending various kinds of support for the economic and social development of Nepal. Is there any possibility of extending more financial assistance in the present context of Nepal?
The current political process offers a better perspective to foreign cooperation and aid. Today, most French aid is channelled through the European Commission and its development or humanitarian programs. It is obvious that the EU, including France, will play their part amongst the major donors in helping to rebuild Nepal, revive its economy and support the return to normalcy. This was said to the Honourable K.P. Oli when he went recently to Brussels.
Excellency, you have visisted many beautiful places of Nepal. What suggestions do Your Excellency offer for the increase in number of French tourists coming to Nepal?
Nepal has a good image in France whatever the sad events it has been going through. I did my bestin this field so our web site advised against coming to Nepal only in very few occasions and just for a short time. But this is not enough. More French tourists can be attracted only through tourism promotion campaign. There is competition on the world tourism market. Nepal must accept the same efforts as other destinations in order to capture a better share of the market. It should not be too difficult or costly since there is no other country like Nepal.
Air service is a vitally important factor contributory to promoting tourism between two countries. What should, in Your Excellency’s opinion, these two countries do to establish direct air link between Kathmandu and Paris? Is there any possibility in this regard?
International airlines will certainly be glad to consider direct air links once the number of visitors has reached a higher figure. They, too, need to rely on a larger market. Commercially, it would make less sense to open a new link and just hope for Nepal tourism to recover quickly. This apply also to flights between Paris and Kathmandu.
Nepal has undergone very important changes in political field after the restoration of democracy and reinstallment of parliament. May I request you to shed light on the policy of French Government about the political changes of Nepal?
France policy regarding Nepal is embedded in EU policy. Along with our European partners, we have constantly advocated a return to democracy, a peaceful settlement, and a process of reconciliation like the one going now. We therefore strongly support the present changes and wish all
the best to the Nepali people along the way they have chosen.
Do Your Excellency wish to convey message to the Nepalese and French people on the occasion of National Day of France?
More than two hundred years after the French revolution, many things remained to be done, including in Nepal, in order too make triumph the ideals the French people victoriously fought for. Most revolutions start from a political or social order that has to be adapted to new mentalities or simply to modern times. I wish all Nepalese of good will to work successfully together in this direction, bearing in mind, as it was shown by the French
revolution, that violent changes are not the right way. Nepal has only friends. They will be happy to help, especially once guns are silent.
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