Nepal Foreign Affairs (Kathmandu, Nov 13)–United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Friday expressed concern over obstruction of fuel and essential commodities to Nepal due to India’s economic blockade.
During a meeting with Former Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, at the UN headquarters in New York, UNSG Ban reiterated Nepal’s right for free transit as a landlocked Himalayan nation.
Koirala, who is also the president of main opposition Nepali Congress, told the Secretary General that Nepal has been able to bring out an inclusive democratic constitution written by people’s representatives through an elected Assembly.
“Nepal considers the United Nations as the custodian of the principles of sovereign equality of all nations. We look to full understanding of Nepal’s sacrifices for democracy and contributions to the liberal democratic order from the international community. We want our friends to appreciate difficult circumstances and complex geopolitics that we are working with in these trying times,” read a press release issued by the personal secretariat of the former prime minister on Friday.
Koirala told the Secretary General that it has been a matter of great satisfaction that political parties with violent past, non-democratic, and non-constitutional behaviour have come under democratic umbrella.
“Everybody becomes a winner in democracy. The biggest challenge now is to institutionalize this peaceful behaviour and strict adherence to the provisions of the constitution and rule of law. Now my desire is to see this behavoiur improved, and strict adherence to democratic norms reflected in daily governance and to the solution of current challenges in the plains in a democratic manner,” Koirala said in the meeting.
Koirala also thanked the Secretary General for support and solidarity following the devastating earthquake in April. “Nepal is working hard to address pressing challenges of reconstruction and rehabilitation of earthquake victims,” he said.
Stating that Nepal’s policy has been to live with neighbours in peace, friendship, cooperation, and harmony to promote peace, stability, and development, the former prime minister recalled that his government had attached highest priority to Nepal’s relations with its neighbours as being pillars of peace, stability, and prosperity.
He also told the Secretary General that at a time when Nepal with constitutional democracy would have been an asset for our neighbours and the world to direct all efforts for development and uplifting people’s living standard by utilizing Nepal’s huge natural resources for common benefit, we are extremely sad to see the Indo-Nepal relations taking this undesirable turn following the promulgation of an inclusive democratic constitution.
“The current situation that emerged as Nepal advanced towards constitutional democracy remains inexplicable,” the press quote the former prime minister.
Mr. Koirala also expressed his concerns about the likely growth of radicalism in the country if people’s sufferings and hardships continue.
“This will not be in the interests of anyone. South Asia remains the worst victim of terrorism, and violent extremism that will complicate the security scenario in the region and beyond,” Koirala said.
The Congress President that it is unthinkable to find neighbouring India, which came rescue within hours of devastating earthquakes in April, is now silently looking at the obstructions and disruptions of the most essential supplies at the border that have crippled Nepal’s economy, paralyzed social life forcing the closure of schools, and halted our reconstruction efforts and rehabilitation of earthquake victims.
“The effect of border blockade has been more pervasive and lasting than the devastating earthquake of April 25 and subsequent aftershocks. Damage from the earthquake was assessed to the tune of US $ 7 billion under Post Disaster Needs Assessment. It is estimated that the cumulative loss from this action of obstructions and disruptions far significantly exceeds that amount,” Koriala told the UN Secretary General.
Koirala said that pushing Nepal into the most serious humanitarian crisis in Nepal is not in the interests of any one.
He underlined the need for Nepal’s unhindered right of free transit, and appreciated the UN position on this.
“Nepal deserves better treatment as one of the poorest, landlocked and least developed countries that formulated a democratic constitution through an endogenous process by following an internationally approved democratic routes,” Koirala told during the meeting.
Koirala also said that he was extremely worried about the divides being created between hills and plains and among diverse ethnic groups in Nepal. Diversity is our strength and national identity. “We are fiercely proud of this strength. We are determined to the preservation and protection of national integrity and interests within a democratic framework,” he said.
On the occasion, the UN Secretary General commended the role and leadership of Koirala in the constitution making. Ban lauded Koirala’s contributions to the democratization of Nepal and conclusion of the peace process.
Secretary General expressed his concerns at the obstruction at the border.
The UNSG also voiced his concerns over the delay at the setting up of National Reconstruction Authority. He also suggested accommodating the demands of dissenting parties through a democratic process. Koirala is in New York in connection with his follow up check up of his health.