Last week, I had the chance to help welcome a delegation, led by the Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister Adhikari, for a mid-April multilateral conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia, co-hosted by the governments of the United States and Nepal, the United Nations, and the World Bank. For Nepal, "disaster risk reduction" means working together to prepare for a devastating earthquake that will likely occur.
We also welcomed the signing on April 15 of the U.S.-Nepal Trade and Investment Framework Agreement by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Deputy Prime Minister Adhikari. This agreement will provide a forum for bilateral talks to enhance trade and investment, and promote more comprehensive trade agreements between the United States and Nepal. In addition to expanding trade opportunities, the delegation took time to focus on developing Nepal's hydro-electric power by participating in a State Department hosted energy roundtable event with private U.S. companies looking to do business in Nepal.
During the visit and meetings, we were pleased to hear from the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Nepal's commitment to completing the final implementation of the peace process and the drafting of a democratic constitution. As the May 28 deadline to finalize the constitution approaches, now is the time for all the parties to join together and build consensus on the completion of these tasks, which are crucial steps on Nepal's path toward a peaceful and prosperous democratic future.
Following our formal discussions, I was able to join the Nepali delegation for a tour of the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum with Dr. Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture at the Smithsonian. Everyone enjoyed learning about the pioneering endeavors of the U.S. space program, but our guests were particularly thrilled to touch a moon rock in the museum's specially designed case. The Nepalese appreciated the opportunity to explore the scientific achievements shared by humanity that are on display at the Smithsonian. For me, the tour of the museum was one of the highlights of the delegation's visit, and the experience resonated as an example of what can be accomplished through joint effort.
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