American Diplomatic Cable: Girija Prasad Koirala and American Ambassador Moriarty

2006-05-09

C O N F I D E N T I A L KATHMANDU 001195

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/10/2016
TAGS: PGOV PTER PREL MASS PINR IN NP
SUBJECT: PRIME MINISTER KOIRALA ON THE WAY AHEAD

REF: A. KATHMANDU 1191

¶B. NEW DELHI 3048

Classified By: Ambassador James F. Moriarty, Reasons, 1.4 (b/d).

Summary
——-

¶1. (C) Prime Minister Koirala appealed May 10 to the
Ambassador for assistance in gaining Indian support for a
third party witness for negotiations with the Maoists and for
international monitors of the cease-fire. Koirala liked the
suggestion of having two witnesses – perhaps an Indian and an
outsider – to be able to observe the negotiations, suggesting
that it be done under a UN rubric. He also suggested
expanding the mandate of the UN Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) so the UN could act as
an umbrella organization for the cease-fire. Koirala
expected the seven parties to finish their wrangling and
finalize a Cabinet by May 11. The Nepali Congress would lead
the Government of Nepal’s (GON) negotiating team, which would
then report back to a caucus of the seven-party alliance. He
requested that U.S. continue to hold off any security
assistance until the military was definitively brought under
civilian control. End Summary.

Getting Government Going
————————

¶2. (C) Prime Minister Koirala acknowledged there had been
some difficulties among the seven parties regarding
representation in the new Cabinet and regretted that the
naming of Ministers had taken so long. He said that Nepali
Congress (NC) had claimed the Home and Finance Ministries,
but had opened other ministries to the other members of the
seven party alliance, in an effort to maintain unity. He
planned to hold a Cabinet meeting the morning of May 11. He
expected to finalize the Cabinet then. The Ambassador
commended the government with acting and making decisions on
other issues, which had assured the public that the
government was not deadlocked, even if there were political
maneuvering behind the scenes. The Ambassador encouraged the
Prime Minister to make progress on social, economic and
development programs as well to show people the government
was working, even if progress on talks with the Maoists
turned out to be slow.

Need Third Party Witness …
—————————-

¶3. (C) Prime Minister Koirala stressed to the Ambassador that
the GON wanted a third party presence, someone of stature and
independence, to act as a witness during the negotiations
with the Maoists. The Ambassador noted that a witness with
the responsibility of reporting if things went wrong during
the negotiations could help keep them on track. He suggested
the GON would need to ensure the Government of India (GOI)
was comfortable with the idea of an international witness.
Perhaps India could also play a role in the negotiations.

¶4. (C/NF) Koirala said he had told Indian Ambassador Shiv
Mukherjee, Prime Minister Singh and Foreign Secretary Saran
that India should play a behind-the-scenes role, otherwise
people might express an “anti-Indian sentiment” and blame
India for any breakdown in the negotiations. The Ambassador
pointed out that India had legitimate concerns. The
Ambassador suggested having two witnesses, one Indian and one
other international player, might be an option. Agreeing,
Koirala said that it would be best if the international
witness came under a “UN umbrella.” Koirala noted that India
had agreed to a UN role in arms decommissioning, so he hoped
it would also accept witnesses in the dialogue. He said
events were progressing rapidly and requested that the U.S.
talk with the GOI about this issue.

… And International Monitors
——————————

¶5. (C/NF) Koirala also stated that there should be a combined
group of international and domestic observers to monitor the
cease-fire to determine whether both sides were implementing
the code of conduct. He hoped that OHCHR would be able to
galvanize national and international monitors. The
Ambassador agreed that Nepalis might be afraid to report
Maoist abuses if monitors only came from domestic human
rights organizations. However, he said that India had been
unreceptive when the U.S. had twice suggested international
monitoring of a cease-fire. Koirala noted that such
resistance was surprising given India’s agreement to UN
supervision of arms decommissioning. He suggested that since
India had already recognized OHCHR in Nepal, it should be
easier for India to accept an expansion of their mandate to
include monitoring a cease-fire.

Peace Process: Working With Outsiders …
—————————————–

¶6. (C) The Ambassador asked whether the GON had decided which
would-be facilitator it wanted to work with during the
negotiations, noting that many international players were
offering to help. He suggested that the GON’s own interests
should be the criteria. Some groups or people might be more
interested in ensuring the process of negotiations with the
Maoists continued rather than in the result of any
negotiation. For example, the GON probably should not select
an organization that did not share GON bottom lines such as
insisting that the Maoists had to give up their weapons and
renounce violence before participating in an interim
government or elections. Koirala effusively expressed
appreciation for the advice.

… Organizing For Talks
————————

¶7. (C) Prime Minister Koirala explained that the seven-party
alliance had asked Nepali Congress to take the lead in
negotiating with the Maoists. The government’s team would
not have representatives from each party on it. Instead, the
team would report back to the seven-party alliance. During
the first phase, second-tier party leaders would lead the
talks. Only when negotiations were close to final would
senior leaders become involved.

Dealing With The Military
————————-

¶8. (C) The Prime Minister’s advisor, Suresh Chalise, raised a
GON request that the international community not treat the
military as a separate branch of government. Koirala
explained that doing so could lead the military to think they
“have their own identity outside the executive branch.” The
Prime Minister agreed that Parliament should move fast to
resolve legal questions so that it was clear that the army
was under the control of the civilian government. Chalise
said that until the military was brought under civilian
control, the GON would prefer not to have any kind of
security assistance, including training, from the
international community. The GON was not opposed to trying
to empower the military, as it was an important lever to
ensure the Maoists negotiated in good faith, once civilian
control was formalized.

Koirala’s Health
—————-

¶9. (C) Koirala started the meeting looking pretty chipper,
although he complained that he did not feel well. He said he
was taking oxygen, but would delay seeking treatment in
Bangkok or Singapore for his lungs until after he had
“managed” the situation. Toward the end of the thirty minute
meeting he was clearly flagging.

Comment
——-

¶10. (C) We believe international witnesses can play a crucial
role in observing negotiations. International monitors
working with domestic groups also probably will be needed to
monitor the cease-fire and code of conduct. The Ambassador
plans to discuss these issues with both visiting UN Special
Advisor Tamrat Samuel and Indian Ambassador Shiv Mukherjee.
Given past Indian resistance to a greater international or UN
role in these areas, Washington might consider weighing in
with the GOI.

MORIARTY

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