US envoy says Nepal’s House dissolution issue is for Supreme Court to sort outAmbassador Berry says America’s engagement in Nepal ‘consistently has been in support of democracy’.
International community has remained largely silent over Nepal’s political crisis precipitated by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s move of dissolving the House of Representatives on December 20 last year.
While India, Nepal’s closest neighbour, has “noted” the incident calling it as an internal affair of Nepal, the United States of America, the European Union and other democratic countries have maintained silence over Oli’s move that has been condemned by the political parties and civil society of his own country as “undemocratic and unconstitutional”.
Oli has dissolved the House and announced snap polls on April 30 and May 10. At least 13 petitions have been filed at the Supreme Court against House dissolution while political parties, civil society and citizens’ groups are holding protest rallies in the streets.
Amid the conspicuous silence maintained by the international community on Nepal’s political situation, US Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry said on Monday that America’s engagement in Nepal “consistently has been in support of democracy”.
But he did not make any comment on the matter of House dissolution, saying the case was under court’s consideration.
Ambassador Berry was talking to a small group of journalists in Kathmandu to appraise them of the new foreign policy priority under newly elected US President Joe Biden.
Asked about the US view on Nepal’s political development, the US ambassador said it would be presumptuous to make any statement when the Supreme Court is there to look after the constitutional principle.
“And that is the part of a process,” said Berry about the case being heard by the country’s top court.
“America’s engagement has consistently been in support of democracy, in support of those institutions. And sometimes these processes take some time to play,” he said.
The US diplomat also said that his country has no view or position regarding the rift in the Nepal Communist Party.
He reiterated that political divisions and conflicts were part of the democratic process.
“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 said.
After Biden and Vice President Kamala Devi Harris assumed the office of president and vice president of the United States on January 20, US ambassador Berry had held meetings with Nepali leaders and appraised them of the new policy under the Biden-Harris administration.
According to Berry, the new US foreign policy will give much more stress on the issue of climate change and combat its adverse effect on mankind as President Biden announced to rejoin Paris Climate Agreement.
On the bilateral front, Berry said that the US support, cooperation and partnership with Nepal will continue under the new administration.
One of major bilateral issues between Nepal and the US is the implementation of Millennium Challenge Corporation where the US government has pledged $ 500 million grant to Nepal to execute two projects—construction of a transmission line and up gradation of a road section. But due to scuffle between the Nepal Communist Party, the US grant is in limbo that needs to be authenticated from the Parliament.
“It is not a political entity for us. Political transition in the United States will not impact the MCC,” said the US envoy.
“Yes, it needs parliamentary approval and we are waiting for it but transition in the US does not impact the project as it has come through from Bush to Biden administrations,” he added.
The US envoy, who has been serving in Nepal since October, 2018, also talked about US-Nepal relationship, US engagement in the region, US cooperation in the field of human rights, refuges among others.