UN urges talks to sort out statute differencesPledges support to political leadership in constitution implementation
Visiting UN Under-secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman has urged the political leadership of Nepal to seek consensus through talks, expressing his hope
that the constitution amendment process will pave the way for political stability in Nepal.
He also assured the political leadership of UN support for constitution implementation. Feltman, who arrived in Kathmandu on a three-day visit on Thursday, met with President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Madhesi Morcha leaders on Friday.
Enquiring about efforts being made to end the Tarai standoff, the UN official wanted to gauge the level of mistrust among the parties that was detrimental to finding a political solution to the prolonged crisis.
In his meeting with the prime minister, Feltman asked if there was the need for third-party mediation for the state and the disgruntled parties to arrive at consensus. PM Oli responded that there was some sort of mistrust among the parties but that was not very serious.
“I call it misunderstanding rather than trust deficit. We are also working on confidence-building measures,” said PM’s Chief Political Adviser Bishnu Rimal. PM Oli ruled out any kind of third-party—external or internal—guarantor to defuse tension, assuring the visiting diplomat of a normal situation soon, according to Rimal.
Oli also explained to Feltman how the constitution was an inclusive document and how it addressed the aspirations of the populace. The PM sought help from the UN to overcome the crisis, commending the support extended by the world body during Nepal’s difficult times and the statements issued by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about the impending humanitarian crisis caused by India’s border obstruction.
In his meeting with the agitating Madhesi leaders, Feltman raised the issue of obstruction on the Nepal-India border due to their agitation and the shortage of daily essentials. Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur told him that it was their compulsion to block the Birgunj border as the government had restricted their protests by imposing curfews.
Feltman inquired about their upcoming protests, if the constitution amendment would address their concerns and whether they would lift the border blockade. The Madhesi leaders are said to have replied that they would wait for the amendment process to unfold.
In the meeting with the UN official, President Bhandari said the constitution had contributed to greater participation and empowerment of women in the country. According to a Foreign Ministry statement, the head of state appreciated UN’s role in the peace process.
Feltman also paid a courtesy call on Deputy Prime Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport.