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09KATHMANDU308 2009-04-16 09:18:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Kathmandu
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1. This cable reports on a relevant opinion piece from NepalQs
non-English press.

2. Maoist-leaning vernacular tabloid daily, Naya Patrika (with
circulation of 30,000), ran an editorial with the title "ObamaQs
foreign policy", which starts with Nepali New Year greetings issued
on Tuesday by the Secretary of State and states that there are
indications of some change in American foreign policy. Full text

3. "American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has sent New Year
greetings to Nepalis all over the world. This is the first time in
the 60-year-long history of America-Nepal relations that any
Secretary of State has sent greeting to Nepalis. On the one hand it
might be an indication that Nepal is getting more importance in
world diplomacy, and on the other, it supports the assumption that
American President Barack Obama is trying to gradually redefine
AmericaQs world relations.

4. Recently, America has relaxed some of its sanctions against
Cuba. Now Cubans residing in America can send some of their incomes
to their relatives in Cuba and can visit Cuba. Similarly, American
media organizations can invest in Cuba. With the latest change,
Obama has hinted towards the possibility of dialogue with Cuba.

5. ObamaQs foreign policy seems to be focused on changing the
attitude towards America, which is negative around the world.
Immediately after becoming the president, he proposed better
relations with Iran. He has also hinted at pressing Israel in favor
of Palestine. It was assumed that Hillary Clinton put Indonesia in
the list of her first foreign visits, in order to improve relations
with the Muslim world. The importance shown by Clinton towards
China during her first foreign visit and ObamaQs meeting with
Chinese foreign minister at the Oval Office shows that America wants
to work in cooperation with China at the time of world financial
crisis. There are also signs that the relation with Russia, almost
destroyed during BushQs term, would be improved in ObamaQs term.

6. Considering the above developments, the New Year greetings to
Nepal indicate that America is considering NepalQs geopolitical
importance vis-`-vis its relation with South Asia and China. On the
other hand, AmericaQs such attention during the historic transition
when the Maoist is leading the government, indicates that it is not
worried whoever is in power so long as Nepal moves forward along a
democratic path. In this situation, only time can show whether or
not Obama becomes successful in improving the image of his