US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu urges top leaders for MCC endorsement at the earliest

The telephone conversation was held at a time when the deadline set for the MCC endorsement is approaching near.

NL Today

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Kathmandu: The United States has urged the top Nepali leaders for the parliamentary endorsement of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact at the earliest.

US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu telephoned Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, UCPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli on Thursday and drew their attention for the ratification.

A leader close to UML Chairman Oli said that the US Assistant Secretary of State requested for endorsement of the Compact soon. In the telephone conversation, Oli mentioned that the ruling alliance itself is undecided regarding the Compact.

The US Assistant Secretary of State asked Prime Minister Deuba about the progress being made in the MCC agreement. In reply, the Prime Minister said that the government is committed to the ratification.

Sources close to UCPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Prachanda said that the US Assistant Secretary of State clarified that the agreement cannot be amended.

In a recent letter to PM Deuba and Prachanda, MCC had requested them to continue to work with parliamentarians and coalition partners to ratify the Compact by February 28. In a response to a letter sent by PM Deuba and Maoist Chairperson Prachanda on September 29, the MCC has warned that the absence of ratification would end MCC’s partnership with Nepal.

Earlier on Thursday, two parties in the ruling alliance—CPN (Maoist Center) and CPN (Unified Socialist)— clarified that they will not support the parliamentary endorsement of the MCC agreement.

On September 14, 2017, Nepal signed a 500 million US dollars Compact with the MCC, the US foreign assistance agency, at the US State Department in Washington DC. On behalf of Nepal, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, Finance Minister at the time, signed the Compact with MCC’s Acting CEO Jonathan Nash. Sher Bahadur Deuba was the Prime Minister of Nepal at the time.