Narayan Prasad Saud becomes Nepal’s new foreign minister

Kathmandu: Nepali Congress leader Narayan Prasad Saud was on Sunday sworn in as Nepal’s new foreign minister.

President Ram Chandra Poudel administered the oath of office and secrecy to the newly appointed foreign minister at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

Foreign Minister Saud’s appointment comes ahead of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda’s proposed visit to India next month and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has started preparation for the entourage to the southern neighbour. The date and itinerary of the visit are yet to be made public.

The decision to appoint Saud as the Foreign Minister was taken last week during a meeting of the ruling alliance attended by CPN-Maoist Centre chairperson and Prime Minister Prachanda, Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN-Unified Socialist chairperson Madhav Kumar Nepal.

Sixty-year-old Saud is also the central committee member of the Nepali Congress and he has been elected as the House of Representatives from Kanchan – a constituency in far-western Nepal.

He had earlier served as Minister of State for Education and Sports and Minister for Irrigation.

There are four ministers representing the Nepali Congress party in the Prachanda-led coalition government, though there was an understanding to give eight ministerial berths to the NC.

The Nepali Congress could not decide on the four remaining ministers’ names due to an internal feud in the largest party in the House of Representatives.

However, Prime Minister Prachanda decided to appoint Saud as foreign minister to facilitate his proposed visit to India, sources said.

Prime Minister Prachanda will embark on a visit to India within two weeks, a senior leader of the Nepali Congress told PTI.

Meanwhile, Nanda Chapai of the CPN-Unified Socialist took oath as the minister of state at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport during the function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.