US wants to see Nepal's democratic institutions, constitutional process resolve parliament dissolution case: Ambassador Berry

Published On: February 2, 2021 10:58 AM NPT By: Kosh Raj Koirala  | @KoshRKoirala

KATHMANDU, Feb 2: Dismissing speculations in the political circle in Kathmandu about the silence maintained by the international community including the US in regard to the current political situation in the country, US Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry said that they want to see Nepal's democratic institutions and the constitutional process resolve the case surrounding the dissolution of the parliament. 

Speaking to a group of journalists at his residence on Monday, Ambassador Berry expressed confidence that Nepal's constitution and laws would help resolve the disputes seen within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and the decision of Prime Minister K P Oli to dissolve the House of Representatives(HoR). 

“There is a constitution here. There are laws. America’s engagement in Nepal consistently has been in support of democracy; in support of those institutions. This process sometimes takes time,” he said when asked why the US has not commented anything about the latest political development in Nepal. 

Ambassador Berry said that there is the Supreme Court and there are constitutional principles that have to be sorted out and resolve the issues surrounding the dissolution of the parliament and the split of the NCP. “That’s part of the process. I would say this is exactly what we went through in the US,” he further said.

Ambassador Berry also said that the US does not have any positions on the NCP that has seen a vertical split owing to the growing differences between Prime Minister Oli and rival faction leaders Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal. “We don’t take our view or positions on the NCP because it’s not our business to do so,” he said. 

“Obviously, that has now played out into the democratic and constitutional processes. That also has to work its way through. I think it would be presumptuous of us to make a statement not knowing the issue,” he further said.

On the occasion, Ambassador Berry also said that there will be no change in the US policy towards Nepal even after the political transition in the United States. Ambassador Berry had held a series of meetings with Nepal's key political leaders shortly after Joseph Biden assumed office as the 46th President of the United States to brief about priorities of the Biden administration.

“Our engagement in Nepal is particularly on development agenda driven by the needs here,” he said. “The driving factor in the US-Nepal relations has been on the issue of development.”

The envoy said that the US wants to see Nepal as sovereign and competent enough to pursue its own course through multilateral institutions to address its own interests. “We believe fundamentally that America’s national security interests are best served by a Nepal that is democratic, sovereign, inclusive, and follows the rule of law,” he said.

Stating that American national security interests are best served by an “economically prosperous and economically integrated country", Ambassador Berry said that the MCC grant that the US has offered is a part of its efforts to help Nepal achieve economic prosperity. “We have been engaged in development spheres in Nepal. We have offered MCC not because it gets anything except close to those goals,” he said.

Ambassador Berry clarified that since the MCC is not a political entity but a development and investment wing of the US government the current political transition in the US will not affect the MCC Compact, which is waiting for parliamentary ratification.

Ambassador Berry said that the new administration will give priority to some global issues such as climate change and it will resume its assistance to the World Health Organization (WHO) to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic globally. He said that the US also looks forward to supporting Nepal in hosting the Sagarmatha Sambad to highlight the problems caused by climate change and take necessary measures to tackle the problem.

Asked if the US still looks at Nepal’s issues through New Delhi's lens, the envoy said that America’s engagement in Nepal, particularly on the development agenda, is driven by the needs here since Nepal, which has two big neighbors, cannot exist in a vacuum. 

“We just believe in a solid, positive and constructive relationship with Nepal’s neighbors, and those should be built keeping Nepali sovereignty in mind, and also defined by transparent internationally recognized norms so that Nepal can participate fully in economic benefits of the region and also the expectations on human rights,” he said.

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