Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium has arrived in Nepal for a five-day official visit. The sister of King Philippe is in the country in her capacity as Honorary President of the Damien Foundation.
Princess Astrid of Belgium is currently undertaking her first official engagements abroad of this year. The Princess, who also leads the trade delegations of Belgium, has travelled to Nepal for a busy five-day official visit. Princess Astrid arrived in the country on Saturday and received a warm welcome from the Nepalese Minister of State for Industry, Commerce and Supply, Motilal Dugad, the Belgian Ambassador and from representatives of the Damien Foundation Nepal. Unexpectedly, the Princess is joined by her husband, Prince Lorenz who has a fulltime “private” job as a banker.
Her Royal Highness is in Nepal not only as Princess of Belgium but most importantly in her capacity as Honorary President of the Damien Foundation and as Special Envoy of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (Ottawa Convention). The purpose of the visit of the Princess is to acknowledge the work and projects of the Damien Foundation on the ground. She will attend the launch of the Foundation’s 2020 campaign, as well.
During the five-day visit, the Princess will also meet with various members of the Nepalese government. On Sunday, she was received by Nepalese the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. The Minister hosted a welcome dinner that was attended by the Minister of Health and Population and the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, as well. In this meeting, the Princess spoke about the campaign against tuberculosis and leprosy, an important issue in the country. It was also confirmed by the Belgian Court that the Princess has urged the Nepalese government to endorse the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention of which she is a Special Envoy.
On Monday, Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz left the government buildings behind as the Princess opened a new Tuberculosis Centre in Kailali. She also took the time to talk with people who are affected by tuberculosis and leprosy.
In the next days, Astrid and Lorenz are scheduled to meet the President of Nepal, Bidya Devi Bhandari and other officials. The Princess will also bring a visit to the Midpoint Hospital in Nawalparasi, a provincial reference centre for tuberculosis and leprosy. The visit of Their Royal Highnesses comes less than six months after Nepal and Belgium held their first meeting of the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism furthering the bilateral relations between the two countries.