American Diplomatic Cable: A Meeting with Nepal Army Chief Pyar Jung Thapa

C O N F I D E N T I A L KATHMANDU 001504

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/12/2016
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PTER MASS NP
SUBJECT: CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF ON HUMAN RIGHTS; MAOISTS

REF: KATHMANDU 1376

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Larry Schwartz, Reasons, 1.4 (b/d).

Charge Presses On Human Rights Improvements
——————————————–

¶1. (C) On June 12, the Charge d’Affaires, accompanied by
A/DCM and ODC Chief, met with Chief of Army Staff General
Pyar Jung Thapa to inform him of the USG decision to return
Captain Indiver Rana to Nepal from U.S-based training due to
our concerns that he was serving in a unit currently facing
serious human right abuse allegations. The Charge urged that
the Nepalese Army (NA) cooperate fully with the investigation
by the UN’s Nepal Office of the High Commissioner for Human
Rights (OHCHR) into the ill-treatment and disappearance of
detainees from the Maharajgunj barracks during
September-December 2003. The Charge stressed that the
decision to return Captain Rana signaled the seriousness with
which we viewed allegations of human rights abuses.

¶2. (C) Thapa expressed his understanding of the USG decision
and said the Nepali Army had “no regret” that Rana was being
brought back to Nepal. The Chief stated that the NA “will
look into this,” but that it will take time. He said the NA
planned to name a brigadier general to lead its
investigation. He noted that the army had disclosed the
whereabouts of three of the disappeared alleged in the OHCHR
report on the Maharajgunj barracks released in late May (one
died in the hospital); he speculated that the army might also
have traced five or six of the disappeared, in which case
maybe more could be accounted for. The Chief worried about
the timing of this OHCHR report, when the USG was reviewing
its foreign assistance policy. The Charge assured Thapa that
the USG wanted to help the Government of Nepal (GON) should
the GON request security equipment assistance, and pressed
him to continue to address impunity within the NA.

Concern About Maoists …
————————-

¶3. (C) General Thapa emphasized his concern about ongoing
Maoist recruitment, extortion, and training. He said the
Maoists were using this cease-fire, as they had the two
pervious cease-fires, to work toward their goal of a
one-party totalitarian state. He stated that “so far we have
been able to hold the Maoists, the next time they might be
able to take over.” He explained that the Maoists were
obtaining weapons commercially from India. In addition to
AK-47s, explosives, and other materiel, the NA heard that the
Maoists had acquired eight anti-aircraft missile launchers.

… But Good Dialogue With Government
————————————-

¶4. (C) The Chief said he thought the government also
understands Maoist intentions, and wants to keep the Army
strong, but that it was also compelled to try to keep the
peace talks with the Maoists going. Thapa bemoaned that the
government does not always accept or act on the army’s
advice. He noted that although the army had given
suggestions for the code of conduct, not all of the army’s
suggestions were included. He stated that the army has “very
good relations” with Prime Minister Koirala. He noted that
he talks “brass tacks” with the PM’s Defense Advisor, Ramesh
Jung Thapa, who understands the NA. Thapa concluded that the
army has a meaningful dialogue with the civilian government.

Comment
——-

¶5. (C) The news about the anti-aircraft rocket launchers is
disturbing. We offered to follow up if the army could
provide further details.
SCHWARTZ

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