Archive ref no: NCA-20210
Opening Remarks by the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli, at a briefing on the current political situation in Nepal organized for the heads of the Kathmandu-based diplomatic missions. Kathmandu, on 19 May 2006.
Friends from media,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my utmost pleasure to welcome you all here in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for this briefing session. In the course of the past two weeks, I have met many of you and shared views on the current situation in Nepal. Today, I wish to share some of my thoughts on the latest political developments taking place in Nepal as well as foreign policy priorities of the Government of Nepal.
The unprecedented peaceful People’s Movement led by the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) that the country witnessed this time has taught bitter but true lesson to autocratic rulers and their obnoxious coteries that people’s power is invincible. People of Nepal, once again in the continuum of battle for freedom and democracy, demonstrated their staunch belief in complete democracy. This People’s Movement conducted as a peaceful revolution has settled the most fundamental political issue the country had been facing for long: the locus of sovereign power. The People’s Movement destroyed the foundation of autocratic rule and reinstated sovereignty on the people of Nepal.
In this Movement people from the entire spectrum of the society staked their lives for the cause of democracy and end of despotism. Our foreign friends and whole international community sided with us isolating the despotic regime into shameful reclusion. The government, on behalf of all freedom loving Nepali people and on its own, would like to extend sincere thanks to all foreign friends and to entire international community who expressed their unflinching solidarity with the people of Nepal, particularly at a time when the people of Nepal were fighting their last battle to regain their sovereign rights. And we expect continuous support of our friends from the international community in our endeavors to protect, nurture and bolster our hard-earned democracy.
The House of Representatives is reinstated after the autocratic regime bowed down to people’s power. Here, it is very pertinent to remember the historic proclamation made by The House of Representatives on 18th May 2006. This declaration has brought every institution and every individual under the purview of people's sovereignty. This reinstated House of Representatives, as custodian of people’s sovereignty, will exercise sovereign power until the new Constitutional arrangement is made there. People’s power is the ultimate power and people’s mandate is the supreme mandate. Nepali people themselves will write Constitution by electing Constituent Assembly. They will choose the system of governance, restructure the State to make it inclusive and decide the fate of all institutions in the country including the monarchy.
This is not time to bask in victory rather it is time to keep our vigilant eye on remnants of devastated autocratic regime in order to eliminate them once and for all. Political situation is still fluid where shattered crooks and cronies 0f previous regime are peeping through sordid holes for opportune moment to raise their ugly head. We warn them that Nepali people are capable enough to foil any conspiracy or malicious maneuver of reactionary forces. At this very moment, we first need to consolidate, safeguard and institutionalize the gains of the popular movement and move towards addressing the most pressing problem of the country- the armed conflict- through peaceful means.
There are formidable challenges ahead of this government. But the glorious victory of People’s Movement over the autocratic regime has emboldened and empowered us enormously. This government moves ahead on the basis of six-point political road map of the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and 12 point understanding concluded between the SPA and the Maoists keeping the people’s aspirations at the helm. Election of the Constituent Assembly can be an instrument to resolve the armed conflict. The House of Representatives has already adopted unanimously a resolution tabled by the Prime Minister, calling for elections to the Constituent Assembly.
This government is moving forward with trust and confidence and urges the Maoists to sit in dialogue with the same spirit. The government has reciprocated ceasefire. Further, the government has already withdrawn red corner notices issued to the leaders of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and has removed the terrorist tag imposed on their organization by the previous regime with a view to providing impetus to confidence building process. The Maoist leaders in various prisons are being released. The Government team to hold talks with the Maoists is being formed. At this point, what the people of Nepal expect is sincerity on the part of the Maoists and their commitment to renounce violence, intimidation and extortion and join the peaceful political mainstream. The time now has come for them to prove their sincerity by translating words into deeds.
We are in the turning point of the history. In a sense, we are creating new chapter in political history of our nation. In such a juncture, our decisions must be bold and revolutionary blended with vision and caution. Paradigm of our conscience must be widened and enhanced. We have had enough of bloodshed, violence, and devastation. We have had retrogression in all fronts of life instead of leaping forward. Now, the time has come to usher our motherland towards the blissful future where our posterity will live in dignified and prosperous Nepali society.
This Government is ready to enter into agreements with the Maoists to develop a mechanism to ensure strict adherence to the code of conduct governing the ceasefire. In this context, we are ready to work with the United Nations, including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Kathmandu and other institutions dealing with similar matters. As the dialogue between government and the Maoist would move forward, at that specific moment, we may feel the need of some sort of international engagement.
Now let me briefly touch on some foreign policy issues. The present government will give continuity to the policy of friendship and cooperation with all countries in the world on the basis of sovereign equality and mutuality of interest. Our policy towards immediate neighbors will remain unchanged. We never allow using our soil to carry any activities that are hostile to our friendly countries. The process of establishing diplomatic relations with other countries in the world will be accelerated.
In the past, foreign policy of Nepal was revolving around enigmatic whims of handful of ruling elite. The whole machineries and resources deployed on the domestic and foreign fronts in the name of implementation of foreign policy were mobilized to promote and protect the self-interest of despotic regime at the cost of general people's welfare. People’s victory over autocracy has ended this situation. The time has come to refurbish our tarnished image in the international community with enhanced confidence and new hope emanated from democratic Nepal ushering into peace, progress and prosperity. In reverence of the aspirations of the Nepalese people, we will be giving a democratic look to our foreign policy.
Nepal has once again joined the community of democracies. In this changed context, Nepal's foreign policy will be guided by the universal values of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law in addition to the established guiding principles and norms of international law. By upholding these eternal values we are determined to play an active role in the multilateral institutions, including the United Nations. Let me take this opportunity to reiterate our fervent request for your support to Nepal's candidature to a non-permanent seat of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2007-08.
Nepal advocates for democratic decision-making process in all multilateral institutions. She is in favor of equitable international economic order, which provides level playing field for all countries irrespective of their economic might. We call for a strong, effective, credible and democratic United Nations to deal with the multifaceted global problems of the 21st century. Similarly, Nepal will remain active in pursuing the objectives of NAM and G77 and other multilateral groupings to further the cause of developing countries particularly the least-developed among them. We respect the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (Panchsheel) in our international dealings. We also plead for the rights of the land-locked countries. I will be leading the Nepalese delegation to the Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-aligned Movement to be held in Malaysia towards the end of this month.
Nepal will continue to play an active role in promoting regional cooperation under the aegis of SAARC and BIMSTEC. We believe that regional economic integration would bear fruits should a level playing field for all partners is ensured. Equitable sharing of benefits must be a pivotal point of all integration enterprises in the economic field.
Our commitment to human rights is total and unflinching. The Government has already constituted a judicial committee under the chairmanship of former judge of the Supreme Court to probe excessive use of force thereby violating of human rights during recent peaceful People’s Movement. This committee is also mandated to investigate into the misuse of resources for suppressing the People’s Movement. We are seriously working on how best to strengthen the capacity of the National Human Rights Commission. We will be working closely with the newly formed Human Rights Council and its subsidiary organs and bodies, including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal to create an environment in which full enjoyment of human rights by all is guaranteed.
Nepal strongly advocates for general and complete disarmament under effective international control. We wish to make the entire world free of weapons of mass destruction.
Nepal firmly believes that multilateral trading regime must be made responsive to the needs and requirements of developing and least-developed countries. We do not want to see the world continues to be divided along North and South lines. We firmly believe that in this age of interdependence and greater connectivity, the sustainability of prosperity in the North very much depends on the concomitant prosperity in the South. We strongly call for greater international attention to be paid to the vulnerable countries in the world simply because instability in these countries will have a direct impact on global peace and stability.
We wish to establish a terror-free world. We unreservedly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever reasons. Terrorism should not be viewed from the shallow approach but it should be analyzed deeply taking into consideration social, cultural, political and economic contexts. Exploitation in economic system, hegemony in politics, invasion in cultural belief generate animosity, which could be fermented into various forms of terrorism.
Years of reckless armed conflict, aggravated by political instability, have badly affected Nepal’s economy. The government has recently issued a white paper detailing the aberrations committed by the previous regime and chalking out the future direction of our economy. The country is confronting enormous challenges of reconstruction of damaged infrastructure and rehabilitation of the displaced people. In addition, the Government has to look after the families of martyrs and a huge number of injured persons. Given the scope and nature of economic challenges, Nepal is in urgent need of receiving enhanced international assistance. In this context, I earnestly reiterate our request to all development partners of Nepal to resume the suspended development assistance immediately with increased volume. And, we also heartily welcome to generous gestures, which has already been shown by some of our development partners.
Nepal's long-term economic development calls for her favorable access to world markets. Nepal has not been able to get benefits from the process of globalization, though she became the first least developed country to enter into the World Trade Organization. We believe in the fair play of the game. We call upon the trading partners of Nepal to provide additional trading facilities by adopting concessionary measures. We welcome foreign investment in almost all sectors of the economy. We urge the international community to support us to develop Nepal as a tourist destination. We urge for greater employment opportunities for Nepalese nationals abroad. All these will have a positive bearing on our poverty reduction efforts and on eliminating the root causes of socio-economic conflicts.
You are aware that the problem of Bhutanese refugees in Nepal is lingering for over a decade and half now. We are determined to seek a lasting solution to the problem and are ready to adopt flexible approach if Bhutan reciprocates with sincerity. Bhutan's continued refusal to accept its citizen back has delayed the solution. We still believe in bilateral solution of this problem. We still believe that Bhutan will demonstrate enough courage and determination to take bold decisions in resolving this long-festering humanitarian problem in the interest of the two countries and peoples, and international community. However, we will be working with the international community to find a just and fair solution acceptable to all.
I think I have spoken more than what I wanted. I will be happy to receive comments and queries from your side, if any.
I thank you all for your presence and patience.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Shital Niwas, Kathmandu