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Carter eager to visit Nepal despite cancer treatment

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Former US president and Nobel peace laureate Jimmy Carter who is being treated for cancer on his brain, hopes that he would be able to make his scheduled trip to Nepal this November.

While this would depend on advice of his doctors and his health conditions then, Carter, 90, said a visit to Nepal later this year would require a five-week postponement of his last radiation therapy.

"I would still hope to go (to Nepal). It would require an airplane flight from Kathmandu to the Chitwan area, which is south down toward the Indian border. And if I do that, I understand from my schedule that it would require a five-week postponement of my last treatment. So that's what I'm going to have to consider," Carter told reporters.

"But up until this morning, I was completely committed to go to Habitat. But if I don't go, the rest of my family will probably go to take my place," he said at a conference yesterday in which he announced that he would be undergoing radiation for the cancer that has now spread to his brain.

"It's in God's hands. I'll be prepared for anything that comes," said Carter, the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981, during which he also visited India.

After leaving the White House, Carter has been active in humanitarian projects in some 80 countries. He said he would continue to do the humanitarian work subject to approval of his doctors treating on him.

"I was able to a number of good things when I was president, for which I'm very grateful, and that was the high point of my life politically speaking, and I would say that my having been president of the United States, a great country, has made it possible for me to have the influence and contact with people and knowledge that has been the foundation for the Carter Center," he said.

Carter said he does have deep religious faith, and was pleasantly surprised that he didn't go into an attitude of despair or anger or anything like that.

"I was just completely at ease. I suppose I would testify it, if you have any doubt about my veracity. But I've just been very grateful for that part of it. I'm ready for anything and looking forward to a new adventure," he said.

Responding to questions, Carter said bringing peace in the middle East would be his top foreign policy priority project.

"Right now, I think the prospects are more dismal than any time I remember in the last 50 years. The only process is practically dormant," he said.

"The government of Israel has no desire for a two-state solution, which is the policy of all other nations in the world, and the United States has practically no influence compared to past years in either Israel or Palestine. So feel very discouraged, but that would be my number-one foreign-policy hope," he added.

Carter was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. He helped defuse nuclear tensions in the Koreas and also helped avert a US invasion of Haiti.

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First Published: Fri, August 21 2015. 03:32 IST
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