Today is July 14th, the French National Day, also popularly known as the Bastille Day. As many of you know, on July 14th, this Embassy used to organize an event where we celebrate the Nepal-France relationship and take an opportunity to thank our working partners and collaborators.
However, with the Covid-19, that has all changed; in fact, it has impacted every country in the world, every sector and each one of us in one way or the other.
First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to share a message of solidarity from France in the face of this pandemic. We know very well what a country goes through when the Covid-19 hits its peak; Hence, I would like to pay tribute, recognize and honour all those who have fought this virus and are risking their lives on a day-to-day basis here in Nepal and everywhere else. I would like to take a moment and present our sincere condolences on the tragic loss of human lives due to Covid-19 and floods/landslides in recent days. We hope that the families of those affected would be able to overcome this tragedy.France’s solidarity is with Nepal during these tough times.
In order to overcome the various losses due to the Covid-19, France, like Nepal, has moved ahead on economic, ecological and social reconstruction by announcing economic measures to support our businesses and our jobs, and social recovery through massive investment in youth, education, training, employment and health care system.
Last year was a very special year for our bilateral relation. We saw the visit to France by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. We celebrated the 70th anniversary of the establishment of our relationship and saw our Goodwill Ambassador, Miss Shrinkhala Khatiwada, Miss Nepal World 2018, climb the Mont Blanc and raise our flags.
This year 2020 is the 70th anniversary of the successful ascent of Mount Annapurna by the French expedition team led by Maurice Herzog in June 1950. Due to the current health crisis, we were unable to celebrate this important day which is a historic day for both Nepal and France and for the Nepali tourism industry.
Today, we bring to you our virtual Bastille Day celebration: here you will see the speech by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, who will be speaking on behalf of the Government of Nepal. You will also see a few short clips by prominent Nepalis and the French people who have an intimate relation with France and Nepal.
Throughout the day today, you will see many little surprises on our social networks; so come back often. The Bastille Day military parade would also be put online once it becomes available.
As a small gift from us to you, we present to you a photobook to celebrate the 70 years of our Nepal-France relationship. We hope that you would be able to travel back in time and explore the rich Nepal-France history. I thank all those who contributed to making this project a success. You will be able to download the photo book from our website and please do share.
Lastly, I would like to sincerely thank the entire team of Alliance Française Katmandou for helping put together this virtual Bastille Day celebration.
François-Xavier Léger is the French Ambassador to Nepal. Excerpts of the Remarks on National Day 2020.