Concluding peace process in focus as leaders meet GuterresUML chief Oli accuses Prime Minister Dahal of delaying the peace process with his decision to ‘glorify violence’.
Visiting United Nations Secretary General António Guterres on Sunday called on President Ramchandra Paudel, Speaker Devraj Ghimire, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Purna Bahadur Khadka and discussed a wide range of issues including Nepal’s protracted peace process, effects of climate change, and Nepal’s contribution towards UN peacekeeping operations.
During the meeting with Guterres, President Paudel said that Nepal’s role in climate change is negligible and asked the United Nations to be serious about the negative impacts of climate change.
He also urged Guterres to hold responsible the developed nations who are most responsible for the climate crisis. He demanded that the UN should take the lead so that the developed nations would fulfil their duties, according to a statement issued by the president's office.
“We are not the reason behind the climate crisis but due to excessive carbon emissions by other nations, we are mired in the crisis. The United Nations should tell those nations to fulfil their duties,” Paudel reportedly told the visiting secretary general. “We are facing it, the whole world is facing it, the entire humanity is facing it. It can only be stopped by our joint efforts and the United Nations should take a lead.”
Paudel also touched upon the issue of Nepal’s unfinished peace process and said that as per the spirit of the comprehensive peace accord, the process will be concluded by compensating the victims and addressing the concerns raised by the UN and following the principles of reconciliation.
Guterres said his Nepal visit has three agendas—successful conclusion of the peace process, the climate crisis and discussion on how Nepal is the appropriate place to spread the message for ending the inequality that is the major cause of the instability across the world. That is why I visited Nepal, Guterres told Paudel, according to the statement.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister Dahal fondly recalled his meetings with the secretary general in Rome and New York and thanked him for visiting Nepal.
Dahal also reiterated Nepal’s commitment to the principles and purposes of the UN Charter and reaffirmed its faith in multilateralism with the United Nations at the centre, according to the statement.
He highlighted Nepal’s inclusive and peaceful transition to a federal democratic republic and UN’s support to Nepal’s unique and home-grown peace process.
Dahal also thanked the United Nations for its continued support to Nepal’s development efforts, including poverty reduction, education, child and maternal health, gender empowerment, disaster resilience, reducing the impact of climate change, and implementation of sustainable development goals.
During the talks, Guterres recalled his earlier visit to Nepal in a different capacity. He also acknowledged Nepal's support to the UN’s initiatives and programmes.
“The promulgation of the constitution in 2015 and the successive two cycles of democratic elections at all three tiers of the federal system reaffirm that we are on the right path, a path of peace, stability, democracy, and development,” Dahal said at a banquet hosted on Sunday evening. “As we gear up for the concluding phase of the remaining leg of the peace process, I am confident that we will accomplish it in an equally successful way and present a successful example of transition from conflict to peace and democracy.”
Dahal also told Guterres that two bills related to transitional justice will pass Parliament soon. The transitional justice process is guided by the peace accord, directives of the Supreme Court, Nepal’s international commitments, and concerns raised by the victims and ground realities, Dahal further told Guterres, according to the statement.
In his meeting with House Speaker Devraj Ghimire, Guterres discussed matters related to the Nepal-UN relations. Ghimire praised the role played by the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) to take the peace process forward. “Nepal is committed to bringing the transitional justice process to a logical conclusion through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Inquiry into Disappeared Persons,” Ghimire said.
Meanwhile, Congress chief Deuba in his meeting with Guterres appreciated the role played by the UN in advancing the peace process. He said consultations were going on with the stakeholders to conclude it.
But UML chair Oli had a different take on the peace process. He told Guterres that the peace process had been delayed because of Prime Minister Dahal. Oli said the peace process had faced a setback due to the promotion of violent activities, according to UML leader Pradeep Gyawali, who also met with the visiting UN chief.
Dahal's decision to celebrate the launch of the People’s War as a national day had made the peace process difficult, Gyawali, a UML deputy general secretary and former foreign minister, said after the meeting.
Oli said that transitional justice should not be “transitional injustice”.
“That should be resolved by taking the victims into account,” Gyawali said, citing Oli's discussion with Guterres. “We want to finish it as soon as possible. But the prime minister, who used to be the rebel leader, should play a role in ending all these issues. But his activities of promoting and glorifying violence have created friction. The victims are worried.”
Oli told the visiting UN chief that there should be no amnesty for serious crimes, Nepal’s international commitments should be taken into account, and the verdicts of the Supreme Court be respected.
On Sunday evening, the prime minister hosted a banquet in honour of the UN secretary general and his delegation. Guterres also visited Patan Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is scheduled to travel to the Everest region and Pokhara on Monday.