KATHMANDU - Nepal has indefinitely postponed the inaugural Sagarmatha Sambaad, or Everest Dialogue, which was scheduled for early April, Nepal's Foreign Minister said Monday.
"The decisions have been taken in view of the coronavirus scare," Pradeep Gyawali told Kyodo News. "The timing turned out to be inconvenient for everyone concerned," he said.
The Everest Dialogue, aimed at steering global discourse on climate change toward the Himalayas, was expecting 250 participants, including high-level political delegations, from around 40 countries, from April 2 through April 4 in Kathmandu.
Political delegations from 20 nations, including high-level delegations from 10 of them, had already confirmed participation, the minister's aide Sudan Gyawali said.
The minister said Nepal will continue with preparations and will aim to host the dialogue at a later date, but sometime before the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as Cop26, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.
In addition, starting March 10, the government will suspend the issuance of on-arrival visas for citizens from five countries -- Japan, South Korea, China, Iran and Italy -- as it tries to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. Nationals of those countries wishing to travel to Nepal will need to secure their visa from the Nepal embassy in their respective countries.
Before this, Nepal granted on-arrival visas to citizens of all countries except Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Cameroon, Somalia, Liberia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and Syria.