Venezuela statement sours Oli-Dahal relations

Published On: February 8, 2019 08:02 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 8: At a time when it has already caused diplomatic tension between Kathmandu and Washington DC, the statement issued by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, one of the two chairmen of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP), on the ongoing political crisis in Venezuela has also soured relations between the two top leaders of the ruling party. 

The differences between NCP chairmen duo Dahal and KP Oli, who is also prime minister, over the statement on Venezuela surfaced when the two chose to criticize each other publicly. While Prime Minister Oli in a program aired on state-owned television on Wednesday evening argued that there was some “word slip” and that there was no need to have issued the statement during his absence from the country, Dahal said in response that the ‘reaction’ of an individual does not matter much when the party’s secretariat and the government had already released statements in the same spirit. 

In an interview with an NTV program, NCP Chairman and Prime Minister Oli argued that there was no need on the part of Chairman Dahal to issue a statement on Venezuela. “There was certainly some word slip. There was no need to issue a statement a day earlier. I was returning [home] the following day [from Switzerland]. There is also concern that the language in the statement was not appropriate,” Oli said. 

While arguing that such mistakes take place unwittingly, Oli even downplayed Dahal’s statement. “A country like the US won’t be and should not be entangled in a minor issue like this,” he said. Prime Minister Oli also clarified that the NCP would not have issued such a statement if he himself had been in the country. 

However, Chairman Dahal on Thursday reacted strongly to Oli’s remarks. “[I do not know] what statement and in what context the prime minister made. I have not seen the media coverage myself. It [Dahal’s] was a political statement. It was issued with a belief that political events in an independent and sovereign nation should not be interfered with,” he said. 

Dahal argued that a statement issued later by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was also in the same spirit. Since the secretariat meeting the other day participated by the prime minister had issued the statement protesting the [US] interference, any other statement made by an individual leader of the party does not have any meaning now,” he said. 

Dahal argued that the statement on Venezuela’s political crisis was issued in line with the sovereign right of each country to make a political decision. He also argued that the UN Charter guarantees such political rights to each independent and sovereign country.

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