​​UML at odd with govt's position on Russia-Ukraine war

Published On: August 5, 2023 10:46 PM NPT By: Kosh Raj Koirala  | @KoshRKoirala

KATHMANDU, August 5: The main opposition party, CPN-UML, has expressed dissatisfaction over the position maintained by Nepal on Russia-Ukraine war. 

Addressing an interaction organized by the party's Foreign Relations Department in the capital on Saturday, UML Chairman K P Sharma Oli maintained that there was no need for Nepal to side with Ukraine as Nepal's immediate neighbors– India and China – chose to stay neutral on this issue. Nepal had voted in favor of Ukraine in UN forums, recognizing Russian unprovoked invasion against Ukraine. 

While mentioning that India had cautiously chosen to stay neutral in this case, Chairman Oli argued that Nepal should not have taken a side, just as a calf does when two bulls are fighting with each other. "Neutrality is our strength. We are in favor of peace. But we cannot do anything by taking a side, losing our neutrality," he said.

Chairman Oli highlighted the need of at least the major powers within the country staying united on issues related to the country's foreign policy. But he complained that in most cases, it is no longer known what the prime minister and the government agree with foreign countries.

Addressing the program entitled 'Current International Situation and UML’s Position on Nepal's Foreign Policy", Chairman Oli criticized Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal for not raising any issues that matter the most to Nepal during his recent India visit. "During his visit to India, he didn't talk about EPG. Nepali land is being disputed. The matter was not raised either," he said, alleging that the meeting was focused on meeting Dahal's self-interest to prolong his stay in power rather than promoting Nepal's national interests. 

Chairman Oli said that all the issues including the border disputes that Nepal has with its neighbors should be resolved amicably through diplomatic negotiations. "We have to tell our neighbors clearly [our issues of concerns]. What is the point of going to the delegation if we can't even talk to our neighbors about it? Therefore, we can and must talk to our neighbors for our just interests," he said.

On a separate context, Chairman Oli said, "Our country does not join any military alliance, we do not join military alliance directly or indirectly in any way. No foreign soldiers come to our land. We do not allow soldiers of any country to be stationed in our land."

India insisting on not considering the Mahakali river as a border

Chairman Oli alleged that India is insisting on not considering the Mahakali river as a border at Limpiyadhura in Darchula and claimed Nepali territories as its own.

Chairman Oli mentioned that India had unilaterally stationed its army in Kalapani 61 years ago without any agreement or any information to the program. "The Mahakali river flowing through Limpiyadhura should be considered as the border between Nepal and India, but the small creek flowing through Lipulekh is being treated as a border. It is India's attempt to call the river the origin of the Mahakali river. We should not give up our claim for the land that rightfully belongs to us," he further said.

He said that the Nepal government should not hesitate to claim Limpiyadhura. Referring to the fact that he had to leave the government while preparing to receive the Nepal-India Eminent Person Group (EPG) report, President Oli said, "It was not that I did not want to receive the EPG report, but only the date was not set. Later, I had to quit the government in the middle."

Chairman Oli said that while dealing with any country in a very balanced manner, we should not try to increase or maintain unnecessary proximity to anyone and unnecessary distance from anyone. "We have to submit a clear approach to our neighbors in a friendly and clear manner regarding our legitimate interests," said Oli while adding that a country should also pay attention to the legitimate interests of others while working for its own national interest.

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