‘EU stands by its position on Nepal’s new constitution’European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nepal Rensje Teerink has said the EU stands by its position on Nepal’s new charter and that it has not reversed the position following the EU-India Summit in Brussels.
European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nepal Rensje Teerink has said the EU stands by its position on Nepal’s new charter and that it has not reversed the position following the EU-India Summit in Brussels. “We stand by our earlier position,” Teerink told the Post following her meeting with DPM and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa on Tuesday. A EU statement on September 18 had hailed Nepal’s constitution as a “historic step”. The text of the statement is in no way a 180-degree reversal of EU stance, said Teerink. “The text of the statement doesn’t seek to question the constitution itself.”
The joint statement issued at the end of the 13th EU-India Summit in Brussels on March 30 said the two sides “agreed on the need for a lasting and inclusive constitutional settlement in Nepal that will address the remaining constitutional issues in a time bound manner, and promote political stability and economic growth.”
Taking serious exception to the EU-India statement, Nepal issued a statement expressing reservations on two points: Reference of Nepal in a bilateral statement and comments on Nepal’s new constitution.
Teerink said during her meeting with DPM Thapa on Tuesday she sought to clarify both points.
“When leaders meet, their neighbourhood is invariably discussed. Other countries were also mentioned in the joint statement,” she said.
Arguing that Nepal was mentioned in previous EU-India joint statement as well, the EU ambassador disagreed with Nepal’s assertion that this was a breach of UN charter and violation of Nepal’s sovereignty.
On references to Nepal’s charter, Teerink pointed out that the EU was among first few countries to welcome Nepal’s new constitution.
“I understand the sentiment and the reaction over the statement coming right after the earthquake and border restrictions,” Teerink said. “But we didn’t have any intention of hurting the Nepali sentiment.”
“The EU has always strongly supported Nepal’s peace process and it welcomed the constitution as a historic step. “We stand by that declaration,” Teerink tweeted on Tuesday. EU officials argue that as a longstanding partner to Nepal’s development, they have no intention of antagonising Nepal, insisting that the language of the joint statement was negotiated at the last minute under the shadow of the deadly Brussels terrorists attack.
“We were trying to accommodate Indian Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi during a difficult time,” said a diplomat, suggesting that the statement “could have been rushed through”. On her meeting with Foreign Minister Thapa, the EU ambassador said that she herself had taken the initiative to meet DPM Thapa to clarify EU’s position.
Earlier on Tuesday, media reports suggested that Teerink had been summoned.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Teerink’s meeting with DPM Thapa was held at her request.