China didn’t ask us to go for polls: Gajurel
KATHMANDU, JUL 12 – CPN-Maoist Vice Chairman CP Gajurel has said that his recent visit to the northern neighbour China did not entirely focus on the issue of the Constituent Assembly (CA) election in Nepal. Gajurel said that the Chinese authorities did not say anything about the election in Nepal for it was an internal issue of Nepal. Gajurel and his party Chairman Mohan Baidya had gone to China earlier this week on the invitation of the Community Party of China (CPC).
China, however, wants to see lasting peace and the end of the protracted transitional phase, said Gajurel. Speaking at a programme organised in the Capital on Friday, the CPN-Maoist VC said,” The rumour that our party is close to China and distant from India is not true. China invites us and we go,” adding,” India doesn’t, we don’t go.” We told the CPC leaders that the CA election to be conducted at the directives of the four major parties will only invite further crisis, said Gajurel. Furthermore, he made it clear that his party’s meeting with the Chinese authorities would not affect the party’s decision. Though Baidya-led Maoists have been opposing the idea of CA polls , earlier this week they formed a five-member talks team to hold talks with the government.
‘Shared with Chinese side that we can not take part in elections in status quo’ : Gajurel
KATHMANDU, July 12: CPN-Maoist Vice-chairman CP Gajurel has said they shared with the Chinese side that their party would not take part in the CA elections in the present status quo. Vice-chairman Gajurel, who returned home on Thursday along with party Chairman Mohan Baidhya following a four-day visit of China, said their party´s policy of boycotting the coming elections will not change even following the China visit.
Speaking at an interaction held at Sambad Dabali in the capital on Friday, he said, “”the reports here that we were suggested by China to take part in elections and reunite with UCPN (Maoist) are not true, they just suggested us to decide on our own”. He, however, said China indirectly indicated to them to take part in the elections. “China wishes to see an end to the transition in Nepal soon to be followed by peace and stability”, he said.
Leader Gajurel also shared that they stressed with the Chinese Vice-president Li Yuanchao and other office-bearers of Chinese Communist party to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries and the two parties at the people´s level. He also made it clear that the arrival of the Minister of External Affairs of India to Nepal and their travel to China was just a mere coincidence. On a different note, the Maoist Vice-chairman said dialogue with the major political parties and the government has already begun and that his party was taking part in it with a readiness to become flexible.
China suggests Baidya take part in poll
HONGKONG, July 11: China has suggested to the CPN-Maoist to participate in the upcoming Constituent Assembly (CA) elections and contribute to political stability and economic prosperity in the Nepal. Chinese Vice-president Li Yuanchao offered the suggestion to CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya during a meeting between the two sides in Beijing on Wednesday. Baidya had suddenly left on a visit to the northern neighbor earlier this week.
According to sources in Beijing, Vice-president Li made a special request to Baidya and CPN-Maoist Vice-chairman CP Gajurel to reach a political agreement and make the coming CA polls a success. Stating that Nepal can progress toward political stability and economic prosperity after the election, “Li urged the visiting Nepali leaders to join hands with other political parties in making the election a success”, said a Beijing-based source close to Baidya.
CPN-Maoist, the breakaway faction of the UCPN(Maoist), had announced a boycott of the polls to be conducted by the present government. But the party, in a development that surprised many, also formed a five-member talks team headed by Baidya himself before he left for China Monday. He was invited to China by the international department of the Chinese Communist Party. Prior to the meeting with Li, Chinese Vice-Minister Ai Ping also held discussions with Baidya and Gajurel about the Maoist party´s policy on poll boycott, unification between the CPN-Maoist and UCPN(Maoist), and regional geopolitics.
Li had held an extensive discussion on Nepal-China relations with UCPN(Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, during the latter´s visit to China three months ago. Chinese leaders have been pushing the two Nepali Maoist communist parties to reunite. Sources said that Li suggested to Baidya to forge an election alliance with the UCPN(Maoist) even if it was not possible for the two parties to reunify in the near future.
As the CPN-Maoist has already formed a talks team to negotiate with the government and the high level political committee, it is assumed that pressure from the northern neighbor could be instrumental in persuading the Baidya Maoists to join the elections. Baidya and Gajurel are scheduled to return to Nepal Thursday evening.
Cracks surface in within Baidya-led alliance
KATHMANDU, July 11: A division has surfaced in the 33-party alliance led by CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya as leaders from 32 member parties of the alliance boycotted a meeting called by CPN-Maoist Secretary Dev Gurung on Wednesday. Leaders from all the parties other than the CPN-Maoist shunned the meeting to express their strong disapproval of the Maoist party´s move to form a talks team to negotiate with the government and the High Level Political Committee (HLPC).
“We didn´t attend the meeting called for today [Wednesday] because the CPN-Maoist formed the talks team without holding any discussion with other parties in the alliance,” Mani Thapa, chief of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Nepal, a member party of the alliance, told Republica. “It is against the official position of the alliance.” He argued that the alliance had earlier decided not to hold talks with the present government and HLPC.
He said that 32 parties were taken aback by the Maoist party´s decision “as there has been no change in the situation at all”. Responding to appeals by the government and HLPC for talks, the CPN-Maoist earlier this week had formed a five-member talks committee led by party Chairman Mohan Baidya. The party had been saying that it would sit for talks only with the president, arguing the government and HLPC have no constitutional legitimacy.
“Once Baidya returns home, we will ask him to clarify their move. We will then take a decision,” said Thapa. Immediately after taking the decision to form the talks team under his own leadership, Baidya left for China. While the Maoist party´s move as seen as a show of flexibility, Baidya´s visit to the northern neighbor was a swift development at least for leaders from other parties. CPN-Maoist Secretary Gurung said the 33-party meeting scheduled for Wednesday was postponed until further notice as there was misunderstanding between the leaders of member parties. “It seems that a misunderstanding has taken place.
The upcoming meetings will clear the misunderstandings,” said Gurung. He argued that his party formed the talks team as the government and HLPC asked the party to form a talks team. “We are for including all the 33 parties,” he said. The 33-party alliance in the past had been consistently demanding dissolution of the present government saying that formation of government under the leadership of chief justice was entirely against the principle of separation of powers. The alliance had been pressing for forming of a new government under the leadership and participation of political parties.
Cautious optimism among people as India, China press Nepal for Nov polls
KOSH RAJ KOIRALA KATHMANDU, July 12: Shortly after the two-day visit of Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, Indian Minister for External Affairs Salman Khurshid arrived in Kathmandu on a nine-hour visit to Nepal on Tuesday. The message these two senior political leaders from Nepal´s immediate neighborhood carried, however, was the same. Both the leaders took stock of the latest political situation and tried their best to convince Nepal´s political leadership not to defer the fresh Constituent Assembly (CA) election scheduled for November 19.
“The important visits from both India and China at this critical juncture show that both our immediate neighbors are concerned about the upcoming CA election. It is definitely a good thing that there is a convergence in the position of both the neighbors,” said former Nepali ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Dr Dinesh Bhattarai. As such, the top diplomats from China and India not only expressed their solidarity to the upcoming polls, but also pledged necessary support to make the CA polls a success.
While China during the visit of Yang committed to provide a grant assistance of 10 million RMB to the Election Commission, Indian Foreign Minister Khurshid pledged to provide 764 vehicles of various types to EC and security agencies by October, while also assuring that India would stand ready to respond to any further requests for polls. This kind of solidarity expressed by both the neighbors, say diplomats, gives a reason to believe that Nepal will soon be out of the protracted political transition that began after the Janaandolan II in April 2006 and subsequent declaration of Nepal as a federal democratic republic.
But since the visit of Indian Foreign Minister Khurshid was planned earlier, observers in Kathmandu see his visit this time around as a “reaction” to Yang Jiechi´s visit to Kathmandu. “It appears that India is making a counter move against China´s moves,” argued former Nepali ambassador to the United Nations in New York Prof Jayaraj Acharya. “I personally see this visit as reactive.” Minister Khurshid scheduled his visit to Kathmandu even as he had to cut short his originally scheduled two-day visit to less than nine hours.
Such an interpretation of Khurshid´s visit to Kathmandu comes in the wake of visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry during his recent visit to India on June 24 urging India to take a regional leadership in South Asia. As Nepal is an important country in South Asia, foreign affairs experts in Kathmandu see Khurshid´s visit as India´s overtures to keep its sphere of influence intact in Nepal. Few others, however, beg to differ.
“The perception in some Nepali circles of Mr. Khurshid´s visit to balance Yang Jeichi´s visit dents its significance and positive impact,” said SD Muni, considered to be one of the India´s foremost experts on Nepal, in his tweet on Monday. “Salman Khurshid´s visit to Nepal is a welcome sign of India´s commitment to holding a free and fair election in November.” What remained unique of Khurshid visit, however, is a controversy related to protocol matter.
While the same leaders, including former prime ministers, visited Hotel Soaltee to meet with visiting Yang (whose Nepalese counterpart was Foreign and Home Minister Madhav Prasad Ghimire), the meeting did not court any controversy. But they courted controversy when they visited Hotel Dwarika, where Khurshid held a separate group meeting with leaders from various political parties. “I do not see any reason to make hue and cry over the protocol matter. Issue of protocol becomes secondary when there are meetings of substance,” argued former envoy Dr Bhattarai, while suggesting not to take the meeting of political leaders with Minister Khurshid as an exception.
With support and goodwill from the international community and immediate neighbors, there is now a cautious optimism among ordinary people that the November polls will be a success. But since the outcome of the new CA is likely going to be very much the same and the positions each of the major political parties hold on key contentious issues remain unchanged, whether the new CA will be able to deliver a new constitution is still a big question.
After 8 years, India to resume military supplies to Nepal
India is to resume all kinds of military supplies, including lethal and non-lethal weapons, to Nepal Army (NA) after an eight-year hiatus that was triggered by deposed king Gyanendra Shah restricting democratic and civil liberties. The military supplies were suspended since 2005 after deposed king Gyanendra Shah took over the executive power and restricted the democratic and civil liberties in Nepal. In opposition to the move, India decided to suspend all kinds of military aid to Nepal. A fact sheet on India-Nepal partnership released after the July 9 visit of Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to Nepal said:
“Following the successful completion of integration of former Maoist combatants into NA and the decision of the government of Nepal to resume imports of stores and equipment for NA, these materials, identified in the Bilateral Consultative Group on Security Issues, will be supplied to Nepal over the coming months.” The Maoists have been opposing purchasing any kind of military stores for the Nepal Army till the integration of Maoist combatants with the army.
Some clauses of a 2006 pact signed between the then Nepali state and the Maoists also barred purchasing the ministry equipment for the army. After years of negotiations, the Nepali state and Maoist party finally inducted 1,352 former Maoist combatants into Nepal Army who completed their basic training just last week. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed between the then seven party-led government and the Maoists Nov 21, 2006, and the Agreement on the Monitoring of the Management of the Arms and Armies (AMMAA) signed Dec 8, 2006, had confined the army to the barracks and barred it from recruiting additional troops and transporting arms and ammunition.
The immediate supplies sought from the Nepali side are valued at more than Indian Rs.1 billion and that includes military education exchanges, joint exercises, and supplies of military store and equipment, said the fact sheet. Some of them will come as grant and some as loan as 60 percent down payment and 40 percent subsidy, it was agreed between India and Nepal while completing the defence purchase negotiations some months back in Indian city of Bangalore. Nepal since long has been buying weapons from India under the Nepal- India Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950.
If Nepal needs to buy outside from India, it needs to get clearance from Indian side Officials from Indian and Nepali foreign ministries and senior army officials from both sides agreed to the resumption of weapons during the meeting of Bilateral Consultative Group on Security Issues at Joint Secretary level. A cabinet meeting of Nepal government April 13, after India agreed to resume the supply, decided to purchase regular arms, ammunition and explosives for the NA. The NA has initially decided to purchase and import 11.132 million cartridges and bullets, 24,166 weapons of various kinds and 81 and 51 mm mortars.
The NA will also purchase other military hardware like mines, detonators, safety fuses and time pencils. On March 15, major political parties of Nepal had removed restrictions put in place by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2006 between the then state and the Maoists in purchasing of arms and ammunition.
Dissenting parties will be included in Cabinet‚ Khanal tells US ambassador
HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE KATHMANDU: CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal today said representatives of dissenting parties would be given space in the High Level Political Committee and in the Cabinet. “They will be represented in the political committee as well as in the Cabinet,” Khanal said while receiving US Ambassador Peter W Bodde at his residence today. Earlier, CPN-Maoist led by Mohan Baidhya and MJF-Nepal of Upendra Yadav had raised their voice against preparations for election in November.
Khanal stressed that demands of the dissenting parties have been addressed as much possible, including that of holding a roundtable conference, to bring them into the mainstream of elections. Ambassador Bodde said only elections could bring stability and enable the country to advance economically. “Only a situation of stability in the country can attract national and foreign investment,” Milan Tuladhar, a member of UML Foreign Department quoted the envoy.