‘We have not threatened Nepali leaders:’ US Ambassador

Rebutting the reports that Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu threatened of consequences, the US ambassador to Nepal reiterated that whether the Nepali leaders ratify MCC Compact is a decision for Nepal to make.

NL Today

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Kathmandu: The US embassy in Kathmandu has rebutted the claim that the US Assistant Secretary of State threatened the Nepali leaders of consequences if the MCC Compact is not ratified by parliament.

“We have not threatened Nepali leaders – that is false,” said Ambassador Randy Berry during a discussion with a group of journalists in Kathmandu on Monday. According to him, the US is only asking Nepal to honor its own commitment to endorse the Compact. “We are asking Nepal to follow through on its commitments.  Whether the Nepali leaders ratify MCC is a decision for Nepal to make, as a sovereign democratic nation, and Nepal’s decision alone,” he said. 

 “After years of delays on following through on Nepal’s promise, we simply ask that ratifying the agreement be brought to a vote so the people, through their elected officials, have their say,” he added.

[Related: Decoding Donald Lu’s message to Nepali leaders ]

When asked if failure on part of the Nepali political parties to endorse the Compact would jeopardize seven decades-long bilateral relations between Nepal and the US, the American ambassador said that US-Nepal ties are broader than one agreement. “The relationship between the United States and Nepal is broader than one agreement,” he said.  “This year marks the 75th year of ties between Nepal and the United States.  During these 75 years, Nepal has seen monumental and incredible changes.  We have stood with Nepal through these changes and supported the country with development aid, disaster response and preparedness assistance, health and education programs, and more.” 

He, however, suggested that rejection of MCC could impact Nepal-US relations in some way. “Withdrawing from a signed bilateral agreement would have an impact on any two countries’ relationship,” he added. 

[Related: Editorial | No more dishonest rigmarole on the MCC grant: Let parliament decide its fate ]

The ambassador expressed dissatisfaction with the way Nepali press reported the message of Donald Lu.  “We have had discussions with Nepali leaders but not in the way characterized by some press and online discourse,” said the ambassador.

The American ambassador clarified that the main goal of the MCC Compact is to help create jobs for Nepalis and build infrastructure for Nepal. “Nepali leaders understand that MCC will bring jobs and infrastructure to Nepal. It is why the government of Nepal asked us for an MCC Compact in the first place,” said the ambassador.

He commented that the development program supported by the MCC, “a program which is based on transparency, accountability and democracy,” has been mired in disinformation in Nepal.

[Related: What will Nepal lose if the MCC is not given a parliamentary nod? ]

On February 10, the US Assistant Secretary of State, Donald Lu, had made a separate telephone call to Prime Minister and President of Nepali Congress Sher Bahadur Deuba, Chairman of CPN-UML  KP Oli and Chairman of Maoist Center Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’.

Most media platforms, citing the sources close to Oli and Prachanda, had reported that Lu, during the conversation, had threatened to ‘review’ the bilateral relations between the US and Nepal and even impose sanctions on Nepal if the Nepali political parties fail to get the Compact ratified by parliament by February 28.

The US ambassador said that none of this is true.