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Nepal Army Senior Officers Corrupt: Indian Ambassador to American Officials

In a meeting with American officials on 11 March, 2006 in Kathmandu the then Indian Ambassador to Nepal Shiv Shankar Mukherjee had asserted that corruption in the then Royal Nepal Army (now Nepal Army) was high and the senior commanders were “content to acquire arms on the black or gray market” because that was profitable arrangement for them than the government to government deal. “Senior officers were enriching themselves with funds set aside for procurement,” Mukherjee told the US officials. “They had told the Chinese to up their invoices for small arms by 30 percent.” The Indian ambassador said that the situation in the RNA was bad in view of poor leadership, poor training and low morale. Even foreign countries provided up to ten times more ammunition than provided previously, the army would not be able to defeat the insurgency.  Mukherjee claimed that the corruption factor explained why the RNA leadership had not been overly concerned about India, the UK and the US cutting off arms shipments.

[Then Army Chief Pyar Jung Thapa had acknowledged an acute shortage of ammunition during his meeting with the US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, Donald Camp, in March 2006.]
– Phanindra Dahal

Here’s the full text of the US diplomatic cable: Continue reading Nepal Army Senior Officers Corrupt: Indian Ambassador to American Officials

Nepal Government, Maoist Arms Management Agreement

Full text of the arms management agreement between the government of Nepal and the CPN Maoist on November 28, 2006.


In keeping with the letters to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General of 9 August and the Comprehensive Peace Accord of 21 November 2006;

Guaranteeing the fundamental right of the Nepali people to take part in the constituent assembly elections in a free and fair environment without fear;

Declaring the beginning of a new chapter of peaceful democratic interaction by ending the armed conflict taking place in the country since 1996, based on the Comprehensive Peace Accord between the two parties in order to accomplish, through the constituent assembly, certainty of sovereignty of the Nepali people, progressive political outlet, democratic restructuring of the state, and social-economic-cultural transformation; and,

Affirming the will to fully observe the terms of this bilateral agreement witnessed by the United Nations:

The parties agree to seek UN assistance in monitoring the management of the arms and armies of both sides by the deployment of qualified UN civilian personnel to monitor, according to international norms, the confinement of Maoist army combatants and their weapons within designated cantonment areas and monitor the Nepal Army (NA) to ensure that it remains in its barracks and its weapons are not used against any side.

1 Modalities of the Agreement

1.1 Principles

Neither of the parties shall engage in movement or redeployment of forces resulting in tactical or strategic advantage.

Any claims or reports of violations of this agreement will be reported to UN monitors, substantiated or not substantiated, and subsequently reported to the parties through the appropriate representative of the UN Mission in Nepal.

The security forces deployed by the interim government shall have authority to conduct routine patrol, explore in order to prevent illegal trafficking of the weapons, explosives or raw materials used in assembling weapons at the international border or custom points and seize them.

Both parties agree to allow the United Nations, international donor agencies and diplomatic missions based in Nepal, national and international non-governmental organizations, press, human rights activists, election observers and foreign tourists to travel unrestricted according to law in the state of Nepal. The parties will respect the security, freedom of movement and well-being of UN Mission and associated staff, goods and services in all parts of Nepal.

The parties shall immediately take all necessary measures to cooperate with efforts aimed at controlling illicit trafficking of arms and the infiltration of armed groups.

Both parties fully agree to not include or use children who are 18 years old and under in the armed forces. Children thus affected would be immediately rescued and necessary and appropriate assistance will be provided for their rehabilitation.

1.2 Definitions

The following definitions are accepted:

(1) Cantonment (Maoist army) is a temporarily designated and clearly defined geographical area for encampment and provision of services for the Maoist combatant units including weapons, ammunition and equipment. The cantonments are provided for all echelons of the Maoist army.

(2) Barracking (NA) is the deployment of Nepal Army units to barracks, including weapons, ammunition and equipment. No units below a company level will be independently deployed unless for activities specified elsewhere in this agreement or otherwise mutually agreed by the parties.

(3) Secure arms storage areas are either military barracks with regular armoury stores used for storage of weapons, munitions and explosives, or storage containers established in special perimeters at cantonment sites controlled and guarded by the responsible unit.

(4) “The parties” refers to the party of Government of Nepal (including the Nepal Army) and the party of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), (including the Maoist Army.)

(5) UN Monitoring refers to all efforts by the United Nations to determine relative compliance with the terms spelled out in this agreement and to report to all the parties and others concerned its findings.

(6) The Joint Monitoring Coordination Committee (JMCC) is the monitoring, reporting and coordinating body chaired by the UN with membership of the parties. The JMCC is responsible for supervising compliance by the parties to this agreement.

(7) Joint Monitoring Teams (JMTs) are the bodies which will assist in monitoring the cessation of hostilities. The Joint Monitoring Teams will be active at the regional and local level and in mobile teams. Each team will be comprised of one UN monitor serving as team leader, one monitor from Nepal Army and one monitor from the Maoist Army. Joint Monitoring Teams will not be used for weapons storage inspections. Inspections at Maoist army cantonments will take place with a UN monitoring team and a representative of the Maoist army. Inspections at Nepal Army barracks will take place with a UN monitoring team and a Nepal Army representative.

(8) Maoist army combatants: For purposes of this agreement this will include regular active duty members of the Maoist army who joined service before 25 May 2006, who are not minors and who are able to demonstrate their service, including by CPN(M) identity card and other means agreed by the parties.

1.3 Promotion

The parties shall promote awareness of this agreement, and adherence to its provisions, among their commanders, members and affiliated groups.

The parties, Government of Nepal, Nepal Army (NA), CPN(M) and the Maoist army, shall design, in cooperation with the UN Mission, an awareness programme to ensure that local communities and the parties’ commanders, members and affiliated groups understand the mandate of the UN Mission and all of the obligations of the parties spelled out in this agreement. The information programmes shall include the use of meetings and print and electronic media in local languages.

1.4 Phases

This agreement shall come into force upon signing. These phases shall occur in the following sequence:

(1) Reporting and verification;

(2) Redeployment and concentration of forces;

(3) Maoist army cantonment, NA barracking and arms control; and,

(4) Full compliance with the agreement.

A full and practical timeline will be established by the parties for all of these activities to take place in consultation with the UN.

2 Reporting and verification

The parties will report detailed information about their troops and this information will be treated with appropriate confidentiality by the United Nations. The parties will provide maps and sketches showing current dispositions, including:

(1) Order of battle/military structure, organisation, deployment and number of troops;

(2) Minefields, landmines, unexploded ordnance, standard explosives, improvised explosive devices and exact location of such items;

(3) All necessary information about roads, tracks, trails and passages related to encampments;

(4) Information regarding armed or unarmed groups working along with the parties, the Nepal Army (NA) and the Maoist army, including their responsibilities; and,

(5) Other information required by the UN for proper monitoring of the disposition of arms and armies.

The UN Mission shall check this information immediately after monitors are deployed.

3 Redeployment and concentration of forces

Comprehensive plans, timelines and routes for the redeployment and concentration of forces will be provided by both the NA and Maoist army to the UN Mission.

The redeployment and concentration of all combatants in Nepal — with the NA in barracks and the Maoist army moving in to cantonment sites — shall be carried out in consultation with the UN. The redeployment and cantonment of forces will be monitored by the UN monitors after they are deployed.

Both sides express an understanding to create a record of government, public and private buildings, land and other properties and return them immediately.

The parties will withdraw all military and paramilitary checkpoints (unless explicitly permitted in this agreement) to promote and guarantee free movement and create an environment free of fear and intimidation.

The Nepal Police and Armed Police Force shall continue the task of maintaining law and order and conduct criminal investigations as per the spirit and sentiment of the Jana Andolan and peace accord as well as the prevailing law. Both parties agree not to operate parallel or other forms of mechanism in any areas of the state or state machinery as per the spirit of the decisions of November 8, 2006 and the essence of the peace accord. All sides agree to let employees of Nepal Government and public agencies travel freely to any part of the country, to fulfill their duties and not to create any obstacle or obstruction while executing their work or not to let obstructions to arise and to facilitate their work.

4 Maoist Army cantonment, barracking of the NA and arms control

4.1 Maoist army cantonment

In accordance with the commitment expressed in the letter sent to the United Nations, Maoist army combatants and their weapons shall be confined within designated cantonment areas. The cantonment shall be based on comprehensive planning and preparation before implementation. After the Maoist army combatants stay in the temporary cantonments, the Government of Nepal will provide food supplies and other necessary arrangements. When implemented, the comprehensive concept shall ensure good communications and proper logistics. UN monitors will have access to any and all cantonment sites for purposes of monitoring.

4.1.1 Commanders’ responsibilities

The normal Maoist army chain of command, control, communication and information will be utilised to control the Maoist army cantonment, using the normal Maoist army structure in administration of the sites.

There will be seven main cantonment sites and 21 satellite cantonment sites of three per main cantonment site. The satellite sites will be clustered no more than two hours driving distance from the main sites unless otherwise agreed by the parties.

The designated seven main sites will be under command, control, communication and information of the Maoist army site commander and the satellite sites by the designated satellite commanders. The site commanders shall provide the following information in detail for each site to the UN Mission:

(1) Command structure for the unit and sub-units plotted on a map;

(2) Names of commanders down to company level;

(3) Communication system;

(4) Complete list of personnel;

(5) Complete list of weapons, i.e. types, numbers, serial number and calibre under storage at the main cantonment sites;

(6) Ammunition inventory type, lot number and amount; and,

(7) List of names for the site security guards detachment, and complete list of weapons and ammunition for the detachment (main and satellite cantonment levels).

Site commanders’ responsibilities include:

(1) Camp security, including access control to the site;

(2) Respect of the security, freedom of movement and well-being of UN and associated staff, goods and services;

(3) Providing information in cooperation with the UN Mission;

(4) Maintenance of discipline, morale and normal training in the spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Accord, excluding live fire exercises;

(5) Daily routines and control of troops; and,

(6) Logistics and camp services (in cooperation with the Government of Nepal and other assisting agencies).

4.1.2 Weapons storage and control

The parties agree upon the safe storage of all Maoist army weapons and ammunition, in the seven main cantonment areas under UN monitoring, except as provided below for perimeter security purposes. Both sides shall assist each other to mark landmines and booby-traps used during the time of armed conflict by providing necessary information within 30 days and to defuse and remove/lift and destroy them within 60 days. All improvised explosive devices will be collected at designated sites a safe distance from the main cantonment areas. Unsuitable devices will be destroyed immediately. Stable devices will be stored safely and under 24-hour armed guard. The parties, in consultation with the UN, will determine a timeline and process for the later destruction of all improvised explosive devices. To ensure the safety of both monitors and Maoist army personnel, no improvised explosive devices or crude bombs will be brought inside the cantonment sites.
In the main cantonment sites the weapons and ammunition storage area will be secured by the following system:

(1) A solid fence will surround the specified area, including a gate with a lock. There will be signs on the fence clearly identifying the restricted area.

(2) The weapons storage depot will be composed of storage containers painted white and furnished with shelves for safe weapons storage and easy control, and with a complete inventory (weapon type, calibre and serial number).

(3) A single lock provided by the UN will secure each storage container. The key will be held by the designated main cantonment site commander. A 24-hour surveillance camera will cover the storage site and will be monitored from the UN office in the cantonment site. Floodlights will be switched on automatically during hours of darkness.

(4) The UN will provide an inspection registration device mounted on each container door indicating when the storage container has been opened.

(5) An alarm system will be connected to sirens in both the UN office and the camp commander’s office. The system will be activated if the container door is opened without a “safe button” having been switched off in connection with regular inspections.

(6) UN monitors will carry out the inspections of the arms storage area and containers in the presence of a Maoist army representative.

Each main cantonment site will be allowed 30 weapons of the same make and model to be used only for clearly defined perimeter security by designated guards, with each satellite allowed 15 such weapons under the same conditions. These weapons will all be properly registered with make and serial number and locked in a guardhouse when not in use. The parties, in consultation with the UN, will periodically review the number of weapons needed for perimeter security purposes on the basis of a shared threat assessment.

Security provisions will be made for CPN(M) leaders through understanding with the government.
The UN Mission shall monitor these commitments with a full-time presence at the Maoist army main cantonment sites and through field visits and regular inspections. These inspections will be carried out randomly and without warning.

4.1.3 Registration of Maoist army combatants at cantonment sites

All Maoist army combatants will be registered at the main cantonment sites. This registration will include the provision of age, name, rank, responsibilities within unit/formation, date of entry into service and will provide the basis for a complete list of personnel. Maoist combatants will be registered regardless if they are in possession of weapons or not. If with weapon, the type and condition of weapon will be specified. The total number of weapons will be categorized by unit/formation. Only those individuals who were members of the Maoist army before 25 May 2006 will be eligible for cantonment. The parties will agree as to how this pre-existing service is to be confirmed in consultation with the UN.
As part of this registration, all Maoist army combatants will present their Maoist army identity card to be marked by the UN. The process for marking the cards will be determined. This registration card will be the basis for any assistance received by Maoist army members. Unregistered persons will not be eligible for assistance or permitted to remain in cantonments.
Only those Maoist army combatants who have been properly registered at cantonment sites will be eligible for possible integration into the security forces fulfilling the standard norms. Any discharged personnel will be ineligible for possible integration. Those who are eligible for integration into the security forces will be determined by a special committee as agreed in the Comprehensive Peace Accord. This integration process will be determined in subsequent agreement with the parties.
Upon registration Maoist army combatants, if found to be born after 25 May 1988, will be honourably and automatically discharged.
Discharged Maoist army combatants must: release all weapons, uniforms and other military gear; and, agree not to return to cantonment sites unless mutually agreed by UN monitors in consultation with the parties. The assistance packages to be provided to voluntarily discharged personnel will be agreed by the parties in advance of cantonment.
The Interim Council of Ministers will form a special committee to supervise, integrate and rehabilitate the Maoist army combatants.

4.2 Barracking of the Nepal Army

4.2.1 General regulations

In accordance with the commitment expressed in the letter sent to the United Nations, the Nepal Army shall remain in its barracks and its arms are not to be used in favour of or against any side. UN monitors will have access to any and all NA barracks for purposes of monitoring whether Nepal Army forces or weapons are being used for or against any party. Upon visiting any Nepal Army barracks for inspection, the site commander will be duly notified, and UN inspections will relate only to matters regarding the disposition of forces and weapons.

The Council of Ministers will control, mobilise and manage the Nepal Army as per the Army Act of 2006 (Sainik Ain 2063) or its successor legislation. The Interim Council of Ministers to prepare and implement the detailed action plan of the Nepal Army’s democratization by taking suggestions from the concerned committee of the Interim Parliament/legislature. Under this to carry out activities like assessing the appropriate number of the Nepal Army, to train the army in democratic and human rights values while developing democratic structure, national and inclusive character.

4.2.2 Commander responsibilities

The normal NA chain of command, control, communication and information will be utilised to monitor the NA deployment to barracks. The commanders shall provide the following information in detail to the UN Mission:

(1) Command structure for the unit and sub-units plotted on a map;

(2) Names of commanders down to company level;

(3) Communication system;

(4) Order of battle/military structure, organisation, deployment and number of troops;

(5) Minefields, landmines, unexploded ordnance, standard explosives, improvised explosive devices and exact location of such items; and,

(6) Other information required by the UN for proper monitoring of the disposition of arms and armies.

The NA will respect the security, freedom of movement and well-being of UN and associated staff, goods and services, and provide information in cooperation with the UN Mission according to Section 2.

The UN Mission shall monitor these commitments through daily presence in selected NA barracks, field visits and regular inspections.

4.2.3 Weapons storage and control

The Nepal Army will remain within the barracks as per the commitment expressed in the letter sent to the UN to ensure that their arms are not used for or against any party. The Nepal Army to store arms in equal numbers to that of the Maoist army, to seal it with a single-lock and give the key to the concerned party. In the process of installing the lock, to assemble a mechanism including a siren and register for the monitoring by the UN. While carrying out the necessary examination of the stored arms, the UN will do so under the presence of the concerned party. The barrack where NA arms will be monitored under the conditions spelled out in section 4.1.2 will be identified and agreed by the parties. The arms will be stored in storage containers.

4.2.4 Deployment and Concentration of Forces – NA permitted activities

In accordance with the spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Accord, continuity will be given to functions of the Nepal Army including border security, security of the conservation areas, protected areas, banks, airports, power houses, telephone towers, central secretariat and security of VIPs. A detailed list of these institutions and installations will be kept by the NA, along with the number and types of forces assigned to such duties. The list of such institutions and installations will be kept by the NA under seal, and this information will be made available to UN monitors when deemed necessary in a case-by-case basis.

Permitted NA activities include:

1. Routine military activities within the barracks and regular training in barracks and camps. The JMCC will be notified 48 hours in advance before undertaking limited live fire exercises at designated live firing ranges.

2. Participation in official ceremonies, parades, etc. as directed by the Government.

3. Provision of Border Security as directed by the Government.

4. Relief of troops on a one-to-one basis, including transport as mentioned.

5. Regular maintenance and replacement of non-lethal equipment, including transport as mentioned. Maintenance and replacement of lethal weapons will take place only with the determination of the interim government or agreement by both parties.

6. Execution of development and construction tasks as directed by the civilian authorities, on central, regional and local levels.

7. Provision of support in relief work in times of natural and other disasters as directed by the Government.

8. Participation in Peacekeeping Operations called for by the United Nations, and all preparations, transport, training, transfer of equipment, etc. connected to this.

9. Provision of security for VVIPs and VIPs.

10. Provision of security of vital installations as directed by the Government.

11. Provision of security of transportation of Nepal Rastra Bank funds.

For all of the above activities the rules regarding notification of troop, air movements and exercises spelled out in section 5.2 apply.

5 Compliance with the Agreement

5.1 Prohibited Activities

In the spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Accord, and in light of this agreement, after the placement of the Nepal Army in the barracks and the Maoist Army combatants in cantonment, the parties shall scrupulously refrain from the following activities:

1. Holding and carrying arms is in violation of the law. Displaying arms, intimidation and any type of use of violence is prohibited, and use of arms is legally punishable.

2. Any type of arms and weapons targeted against each other in a direct or indirect way or any act of attack.

3. Harming or intimidating any person, including internally displaced persons, humanitarian and development workers and other non-combatants, and any seizure of their equipment and property.

4. Ambushes, murder or violent operations.

5. Kidnapping, unlawful detention or imprisonment, disappearances;

6. All offensive military flights in and over Nepal.

7. Damaging or seizing public/private/government, military or UN property and all attacks on UN personnel and installations.

8. Planting mines or improvised explosive devices, conducting sabotage or military espionage.

9. Recruiting additional armed forces or conducting military activities against each other, including transporting weapons, ammunitions and explosives (unless mutually agreed by the parties and notified in advance according to the terms of this agreement.)

10. Collecting cash or goods and services or levying tax against one’s wishes and against the existing law.

11. Any actions that impede or delay the provision of humanitarian assistance or protection to civilians.

12. Any restrictions on the safe, free and unimpeded movement of humanitarian or development agencies undertaking activities approved by the interim government or its successor.

13. All acts and forms of gender-based violence.

14. Any restrictions on the free movement of people and goods.

15. All activities that obstruct the efforts of the UN Mission and amount to a failure to cooperate with the UN Mission, including the prohibition of the UN Mission patrols and flights over any location.

16. Any attempt by a party to disguise its equipment, personnel or activities as those of the UN Mission, other United Nations agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross/Crescent or any other similar organisation.

17. Any attempt to redeploy military forces and equipment or occupation of any positions out of their respective deployment positions without the consent of the Joint Monitoring Coordination Committee.

18. The use of children who are 18 years old and under in the armed forces.

19. All hostile propaganda and incitement to military action.

The parties shall also refrain from all activities that are prohibited elsewhere in this agreement.

5.2 Permitted activities

The key principle that shall underpin permitted activities for both sides shall be to alleviate the effects of the armed conflict on civilians and the war-affected areas and to galvanise popular support for peace. Permitted activities for both sides will be conducted as per the decisions of the interim government. Troop, air movements and exercises have to be properly notified and approved by the Joint Monitoring Coordination Committee at least 48-hours in advance.

Permitted activities include:

(1) De-mining and decommissioning of military hazards;

(2) Development activities to include improvement and opening of roads, rehabilitation of bridges and passages and airstrips according to the decisions of the interim government;

(3) Humanitarian relief;

(4) Socioeconomic activities such as assisting free movement of people, goods and services;

(5) Free movement of unarmed soldiers in plain civilian clothes who are on granted leave, medical referrals, or visiting families – no more than 12 percent of the total retained force at a given cantonment or barracks will be on authorised leave at any given time unless mutually agreed by the parties;

(6) Supply of non-lethal items to military units, food, water, medicine, petrol, oil and lubricants, stationary, uniforms etc; and,

(7) Medical evacuation.

5.3 Violations

The following acts shall constitute violations of the agreement:

(1) Any act that contravenes this agreement;

(2) Unauthorised troop movements;

(3) Unauthorised recruitment, conscription or mobilisation;

(4) Unauthorised replenishment of military equipment;

(5) Violation of human rights, humanitarian law or obstruction of freedom of movement of people, goods and services;

(6) Espionage, sabotage, air surveillance and acts of subversion; and,

(7) Military flights, or military flights utilising civilian aircraft, over cantonment sites without 48-hour notification to the parties and the UN mission, except in emergency situations or medical evacuations.

6 The United Nations Mission

6.1 The Joint Monitoring Coordination Committee

The Joint Monitoring Coordination Committee (JMCC), the chairman of which will be appointed by the UN mission and the delegates from the parties determined by the parties themselves. The nine-member JMCC shall be composed of representatives from the UN, NA and Maoist Army. The neutral Chairman will be appointed by the United Nations. There will be two Vice-Chairmen, one each from the Maoist Army and the NA. The remaining six members will be two UN, two NA and two Maoist army, all as selected by the parties.

The JMCC shall reach its decisions by consensus. In the event of a deadlock, the representative of the UN Secretary-General shall have final authority for reporting on the compliance of the parties with this agreement to the Secretary-General and to the interim government for resolution. The Chairman shall report regularly to the representative of the Secretary-General and to the designated representatives of the parties regarding the activities of the JMCC.

The JMCC shall serve three main functions:

(1) To assist the parties in implementing this agreement. The JMCC shall be the central coordinating body for monitoring arms and armies in accordance with the terms of this agreement.

(2) To serve as a dispute resolution mechanism. The JMCC shall resolve all disputes and military or operational difficulties, complaints, questions or problems regarding implementation of this agreement.

(3) To assist in confidence building. The JMCC shall work to gain the trust and confidence of the parties and promote the overall goals of this agreement among the people in Nepal.

In order to achieve these goals, the JMCC shall operate according to the following basic principles:

(1) Resolve all problems and disputes at the lowest level possible, i.e. delegation of authority to the JMTs;

(2) Promote joint problem-solving and build trust and confidence through active efforts to appropriately investigate and report on all incidents of concern to the parties; and,

(3) Build on lessons learned in the process.

The Joint Monitoring Teams (JMTs), will assist the Joint Monitoring Coordination Committee at the local level and through site visits. The JMTs will comprise one international monitor as the team leader and one monitor from Nepal Army and one monitor from the Maoist Army. The number of JMTs and their deployment will be determined by the chair of the JMCC in consultations with that body.

The tasks of the JMTs will include:

(1) Village and community visits and liaison with the civilian community;

(2) Cooperation with other UN-agencies, and liaison with international organisations and non-governmental organisations;

(3) Assistance to the parties in creating a favorable operational environment for the conduct of the ceasefire by information sharing and defusing local tension;

(4) A pro-active concept for initiation of conflict management at the local level; and,

(5) Investigation of complaints linked to possible alleged violations of the agreement, reference paragraph 5.1, and to recommend measures to ensure compliance.

7 Miscellaneous
This agreement can be revised at any time with the consent of both parties. Both parties agree to provide to each other prior written information if they wish to make any change. The amendments can be made to the agreement with the consent of both parties after receiving the information. The provisions to be made by such an amendment will not fall below the minimum standards of accepted international human rights and humanitarian laws.
Both parties consent to sign any complementary understandings, as necessary, for the implementation of the present agreement.
This agreement will be signed by both parties in Nepali and English. The United Nations will witness the English language version of this agreement and, accordingly, the English-language version of this agreement will be considered as authoritative in matters of dispute.
The spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Accord shall guide the interpretation and implementation of this agreement by all the parties.

Done in Kathmandu, Nepal on the 28th day of November, 2006 (12 Mangsir 2063 BS)

___________________ ___________________
Krishna B. Mahara Krishna P. Sitaula
Coordinator Coordinator
Negotiating team Negotiating team
CPN (Maoist) Government of Nepal

Witnessed by
Ian Martin
Personal Representative of the Secretary-General
United Nations

Explaining Those 25 Words

Americans explain theirs boss’s words to Nepal’s king

Update (20:15 NST): “I am hopeful, but not optimistic,” said Donald Camp, visiting U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South Asian Affairs in a news conference organized by the American Embassy in the Ambassador’s residence in Kathmandu. Camp was responding a question about how he felt after meeting king Gyanendra in Pokhara yesterday.

“I have brought the President [George W. Bush]’s message to the king. We are hopeful but no assurance were given [to us saying that] there will be a breakthrough. I wish I could say ‘I am optimistic’.” Continue reading Explaining Those 25 Words

The Meeting & Talking

The Seven Party Allinace Meeting

Nepal’s pro-democracy alliance of seven political parties meets and decides new programs of agitation against autocracy of king Gyanendra. But the question is, Will the Alliance be successful to bring democracy back this time?

It has been almost proved that King Gyanendra is not giving any attention whatsoever to them. Instead he keeps them blasting off in occasional messages that he gives out to the nation. The movement against autocracy, the fight for democracy, it seems, hasn’t gained any momentum. People are about to forget the fact that parties are launching a mass movement against King Gyanendra’s autocracy. After recent comments from the American Ambassador about parties’ 12-point-agreement with the Maoists, the alliance of seven political parties is now in defensive mood. Possible ‘traitors’ like Sher Bahadur Deuba are also raising their voices against the agreement in one excuse or the other.

The Seven Party Allinace Meeting

In this context, leaders of the alliance met today in the residence of Girija Prasad Koirala, senior most leader and president of Nepali Congress. (Yes, Deuba was there representing his breakaway faction-the Nepali Congress Democratic.) What did they talk? Well of course about the need to intensify the movement for democracy. That is why they decided to launch, yet again, protests programs around the country targeting the royal autocratic government from April 8 (Chaitra 26 or the Janaandolan Day). They also requested the Maoists to withdraw the rebel’s indefinite blockade that is scheduled to begin from March 14. Rebels are also calling for general strike (Nepal Bandh) from April 3.

25 Words, Two Commas and a Fullstop

In Nepal, we agreed that the Maoists should abandon violence, and that the King should reach out to the political parties to restore democratic institutions.
-George W Bush, President, The United States of America, at 13:10 P.M. NST, Mughal Garden, Hyderabad House, New Delhi, India. Source: The White House.

By D Wagle, in Kathmandu, of course.

That was the sentence that was. A big full stop right after that. They AGREED. And that single sentence has sent a tremor in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Thaha payeu, Bush le Nepal bare bolyo ni! Okay, that was what a colleague enthusiastically told me this evening: Did you know that Bush spoke about Nepal? I am sure someone must have told the occasional residents of Ratna Palace in Pokhara the same sentence with same level of enthusiasm. Well, not enthusiasm but with anxiousness, I guess. I am also sure that the Bush Sentence will find a plum space on the front pages of all national dailies (yes, including Gorkhapatra, I think) tomorrow. Already serious efforts of decrypting that sentence appears to have begun. “It’s really a big news,” one scribe said. “Bush speaks about Nepal.” President Bush is a master summarizer. He must have gotten full marks in that skill. He presented a solution in Nepal in a single sentence (with 25 words, two commas and a full stop, according to a White House transcript of the proceeding of the joint news conference made available at their official web site).

Bush is in India and the heat of his visit has been felt in Kathmandu via that sentence. A sentence is sufficient enough to cerate discussions and make headlines in Nepal just like a 3-day US Presidential visit is for Indian media and intellectual circle. I am simply amazed by how the Indian media and political/intellectual circle is reacting to the Bush trip. Bush’s India visit reminded me of Indian Prime Ministers’ Nepal visits. We start taking about the visit, the Prime Minister, his kurta, his mustache, the Indian influence. We also express our concern about what out government might “sell” to India, how Indians will make us fool in certain deals, how our national sovereignty will be undermined etc etc etc. We talk, debate and discuss about the visit to the extent that almost all important space of the major media outlets is consumed by the issue. And to be honest, we are not alone. Indian media and intelligentsia is does the same when an American President visits their country. Yes, America for India is what New Delhi is for Kathmandu.

I have been following the Indian media (newspapers TVs and web sites) and I would have definitely been overloaded by the information that they have been feeding to their audiences had I not been aware of the importance of America in India and rest of the world. The other day, Times of India ran a front page banner news telling us what would bring Bush in India and went on detailing the widely available information about the Air Force One. I told my brother Email to ignore the TIO report and instead turn the computer on and look for a How Stuff Works file that I saved in the hard disk three years ago. TOI report contained no updates on the plane. Yes, Indian media are talking about Bush and the visit just like Nepali media talk about an Indian premier prior to his visit to Nepal. “President Bush has landed” is the banner headline of Indian Express though the daily’s coverage of the visit is disastrous compared to that of, say, Hindustan Times.

“HE’S A FRIEND” declares HT on it’s front page citing a survey conducted by an agency for the daily that provides insights about Indian feeling to America. Is Geroge W. Bush a friend of India? 45% say YES and 41% NO. And will Indians Invite Bush to their homes for dinner? 45% YES, 43% NO. In the second main news on the front page, HT asks a question via the headline: Why is this visit important? This is exactly the same question that Nepali media asks every time an Indian Prime Minister lands at Kathmandu’s International Airport. “Before, US presidents used to let 20 years or so slip by before visiting India,” says the daily. “George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are the first examples of successive Oval Office residents to come here. This reflects the changed dynamic of th Indo-US relationship.”

Aaj Tak, a TV network is suing the tagline “Aaa Gale Lag Jaa” (Come, hug me) while NDTV is saying, today, Bush huwa Khus! (Bush is happy). The talk is focused on the nuclear deal. Critics are talking about Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh undermining the national sovereignty of India by letting America it’s hand into Indian nuclear power plants where as the establishment is trying to console itself by saying that the government successfully convinced America to, as HT put it, “symbolically end 40 years of the US trying to keep India off the high table of power.”

Anyway, we are yet to see so many sound bites and headlines out from the Bush trip in Indian media. But before ending this blog, I would like to quote President Bush that demonstrates how he loves Indian mango!

“And, oh, by the way, Mr. Prime Minister, the United States is looking forward to eating Indian mangos. Part of liberalizing trade is to open up markets. And as a result of your leadership, and our hard work, we are opening up markets. Our agricultural knowledge initiative is an important initiative for both countries, where we’ll fund joint agricultural research projects.”

>>>You might want to follow the White House link provided above for more juicy quotes from President Bush.

Senator Patrick Leahy Rises to Speak on Nepal

US Senator Patrick Leahy’s statement on Nepal to Congress. Full Text.

Senator Patrick Leahy July 28: I rise to speak about the situation in Nepal, which has received too little attention by the Congress. I will not take the time to discuss in detail the history of this tiny country wedged between China and India. Suffice it to say that not only is Nepal among the world’s least developed countries, it is also facing a ruthless Maoist insurgency and a political crisis instigated by King Gyanendra which together threaten to turn Nepal into a failed state.

Last year, after receiving disturbing reports of widespread human rights violations by the Royal Nepalese Army, including arrests, disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings of civilians, the Congress imposed a number of conditions on our military aid to Nepal.

Those conditions required the Nepalese Government to

(1) comply with habeas corpus orders issued by the Supreme Court of Nepal;

(2) cooperate with the National Human Rights Commission to identify and resolve all security related cases of individuals in government custody;

(3) grant the National Human Rights Commission unimpeded
access to all places of detention; and

(4) take effective steps to end torture by security forces and prosecute members of such forces who are responsible for gross violations of human rights.

Unfortunately, not only have those conditions not been met, the situation was made significantly worse on February 1st when King Gyanendra, with the backing of the security forces, dissolved the multiparty government, arrested and jailed political opponents, human rights activists and journalists, and declared a state of emergency.

The state of emergency has since been lifted, but civil liberties, including freedom of the press and association, remain restricted, the former Prime Minister has been jailed for corruption by an extrajudicial, politically motivated anti-corruption commission, and arrests of journalists and democracy activists continue.

Speaking with one voice, the United States, Great Britain, and India ondemned the King’s actions as a setback for democracy. They said it would make it more difficult to resolve the Maoist problem, and each country imposed varying types of restrictions on military aid. Since then, however, the American Embassy has adopted a more nuanced approach, sending mixed messages that have been widely interpreted as giving equal consideration and validity to the views and actions of the King and the political parties. Unfortunately, the impression today of Nepalese pro-democracy and human rights activists is that the United States is not fully behind them.

The army insists it is complying with habeas corpus orders of the Supreme Court. This is deceiving, however, because the security forces, often in plain clothes, have been re-arresting people who the court has ordered released. In some instances they have waited at the courthouse steps to take people back into custody immediately after they are set free by the court. Since these arrests are often made without charges, the whereabouts and treatment of these people is often unknown.

In April, the term of the National Human Rights Commission expired and the government reconstituted the Commission in a manner that was incompatible with the 1990 Nepalese Constitution. The membership of the Commission has also changed, with the exception of the chairman.

Not surprisingly, none of the current members, appointed by the palace, expressed publicly any disagreement with the King’s February 1st actions, including the arrests and curtailing of civil liberties. The chairman of the Commission even expressed support for the King’s actions. This has caused legitimate concerns about the Commission’s independence.

There is conflicting information about the government’s cooperation with the National Human Rights Commission in resolving security related cases of persons in custody. According to human rights groups, the situation has not improved. The Commission has said it is getting better access to places of detention, but it is not clear how meaningful this access is. We know there are large numbers of people who have disappeared, yet we are informed that when members of the Commission visit army barracks they have seen few detainees, are led around by army escorts, and that some barracks where detainees were reported to be held were completely empty. There is a concern that the army is summarily executing prisoners. Meanwhile, the International Red Cross has suspended its visits to prisoners because of the army’s failure to provide the access it requires.

The issue of ending torture and prosecuting members of the security forces who commit gross violations of human rights, is also difficult to assess. According to human rights groups, torture is routinely practiced and impunity remains the norm. The army claims it disciplines its members who violate human rights, but many of the cases it cites do not involve human rights violations. According to the army officer who heads the army’s human rights cell, complaints about human rights violations by the army are “much ado about nothing.” Those words speak volumes.

Under our law, the Secretary of State is to determine whether the conditions have been met. As a sponsor of the law, I would expect that prior to making any determination she would consult with representatives of reputable human rights groups, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as with the British and Indian governments. It is important that we and they be seen as united on these issues.

In that regard, I would hope that she would consider the implications of such a determination in the context of the larger political crisis. We do not want to do anything that could be seen as further evidence that the United States supports the King when he is using the army and police to crush the forces of democracy.

Last week, the Senate revisited the conditions on our military aid for Nepal. Since those conditions were enacted prior to February 1st, they have in large measure been eclipsed by subsequent events. The Senate determined that modifications were needed, and those changes were adopted unanimously on July 20, 2005, in an amendment to the fiscal year 2006 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. I ask unanimous consent that the amendment, which if agreed to by the Senate-House conference committee will apply to United States military aid for Nepal for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2005, be printed in the Record at the end of these remarks.

Nepal is a breathtakingly beautiful country facing immense challenges. The majority of its people are illiterate, subsistence farmers who are caught between the Maoists, who extort money and food, forcibly recruit their children, and commit atrocities, and the army which mistreats and often shoots those suspected of sympathizing with the Maoists.

The King, while professing to support democracy, seems determined to take the country back to the pre-1990 feudal days. This is not the first time he has dismissed the Prime Minister, and since February 1st he has surrounded himself with elderly advisors from the Panchayat era. He has ignored repeated urgings by our ambassador, and other governments, to sit down with representatives of the political parties to develop a plan for the prompt restoration of multiparty democracy.

As in any country where multiparty democracy has existed for only a decade and a half, Nepal’s fledgling political parties suffer from internal divisions and are struggling to establish their credibility with the Nepalese people. This should surprise no one. Democracy is never perfect, and that is particularly true in an impoverished, isolated kingdom whose people have been ruled by a monarchy that ignored their needs for centuries. Yet, despite these obstacles, Nepalese journalists, political activists and civil society continue to speak out.

What is the alternative? A Maoist “people’s republic” that could plunge Nepal into darkness? A return to an active monarchy that is accountable to no one?

Nepal is at an historic juncture. The Maoists have made steady gains over the past decade. Once a minor irritant, today they are a national menace. Even since 2001, when King Gyanendra ascended the throne and became commander in chief of the army, the Maoists have grown stronger. Although they are unable to hold territory or to seize power in Katmandu, they pose an increasing threat to the security and livelihoods of Nepal’s people.

The King has made a tragic blunder, and the Nepalese people are paying a heavy price.

Former Prime Minister Deuba is in prison, which the State Department has rightly called a setback for democracy. This week there were new arrests. On July 25, several dozen journalists and civil society leaders were arrested and detained for over 24 hours during a peaceful protest. On July 27, a pro-democracy student leader, Gagan Thapa, was arrested while attempting to visit fellow detained student leaders.

Mr. Thapa is reportedly being held on suspicion of sedition. His arrest is a threat to all democracy activists and should be strongly condemned by the State Department.

The King’s strongest card is the army, but it lacks an effective counterinsurgency capability, it cannot defeat the Maoists in territory as rugged and isolated as parts of Afghanistan, and it has abused and alienated the very people it is supposed to protect. The army needs to demonstrate that it is worthy, if it wants U.S. support.

Earlier this year, in order to avoid criticism at the UN Human Rights Commission, the King agreed to permit the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to open an office in Nepal and deploy human rights monitors. This is a welcome development, which the U.S. should strongly support. If the UN monitors are provided with unimpeded access, they should be able to determine if the Maoists are prepared to stop attacking civilians and recruiting children, and if the army is serious about respecting international humanitarian law.

Recently, the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor traveled to Nepal to assess the situation. He concluded that a solution to the crisis rests on three elements: “a return to constitutional order and multiparty democracy, an end to hostilities, and inclusive national dialogue towards a negotiated solution to the underlying causes of conflict.” The UN has a long history in Nepal, and it could play a key facilitating role on each of these elements. I would hope that the State Department would publicly support this.

No one should minimize the challenges. The Maoists have yet to demonstrate that they are ready to abide by a ceasefire, which should be a prerequisite for negotiations on their political demands. But our policy should be unambiguous.

Democracy is the only viable alternative, and we should make clear that we unequivocally reject the King’s imperial ambitions, that the days of an active monarchy are over, and that we support the political parties. Whether that means the restoration of the 1999 Parliament or the formation of a new constituent assembly, is for the Nepalese people to decide, but there should be no doubt that we support a political process that is open, transparent, inclusive and accountable to the people.

Democracy and dialogue are the key to peace in Nepal, and we should do everything possible to reaffirm our willingness to work with the political parties, with Nepalese civil society, the Indian government, the British government, other key countries, and with the United Nations, towards that end.

15 Responses to “‘I Rise To Speak On Nepal’”

1. anonymous Says:
July 30th, 2005 at 9:36 pm

that the days of an active monarchy are over,
2. Gorkhalee Says:
July 30th, 2005 at 9:57 pm

An excellent analysis, and my heartful thank for the Senator who is really behind the Nepali people.
3. Nepali babu Says:
July 30th, 2005 at 10:27 pm

Thanks a hundred time to be first american persion think heartly for the goodness of very nepali people. really thanks a lot! senator thanks! V V V V.
4. Harke Says:
July 30th, 2005 at 10:42 pm

Let’s thank the Senator. Let’s write to him. His email address is:
5. chinta Says:
July 30th, 2005 at 11:32 pm

Great speech, senator Leahy. Thank you very much.
July 31st, 2005 at 3:07 am

Leahy is a Democrat, unlike George W Bush and
US Ambassador James Moriety(sp?) both Republicians who have only supported War in Nepal.
When the US gets rid of the Bush Regine then a way for the US to help bring peace to Nepal can start… Until then expect more of the same.. WAR !!
7. Whosyourdaddy Says:
July 31st, 2005 at 3:55 am

US will soon find WMD in Nepal… So I wouldn’t trust these guys… after all 25, 000 (some reports say 100,000) lives have been saved by bringing democracy in Iraq !! Well, Saddam was doing the same … I wonder what the difference is…. Beware of the Neo-cons.. they got Nepal in their sight…. 🙂
8. manan Says:
July 31st, 2005 at 4:32 am

What is more dangerous for Nepal, the imperial action of the King or that of a faraway country, that, immensely powerful as it is, has still no direct control over our country, which in turn is sandwiched between two other powerful nations?

Look at the situation practically. Nepal does not have WMDs, and neither is its insurgency threatening to take over the world. So neocons have no basis for invading Nepal on the basis of protecting the United States.

I say that in our case, American assistance will be good for us. Not only might that support democratic aspirations, it will also keep in
check the urges of our ambitious neighbors.
9. reply Says:
August 1st, 2005 at 8:52 am

Yes, Senator. First try to solve the problem in Iraq and Afghanistan before trying to muddle in Nepal. America’s over 50 years of good relations with the Nepalese people have been terribly tarnsished by your ridiculous remarks. Why did you adopt a military solution to communist insurgencies in Phillippinnes, Nicaragua, Thailand, Chile that you want a “negotiated” settlement with the Maoists here? Why don’t you yourself talk to Osama Bin Laden? Why doesn’t the American Army respect human rights? Is there press freedom in Baghdad? BUsh’s best card is the American army but it lacks counter-insurgency capability in Iraq. Bush has made a terrible mistake and the people of Iraq are paying a heavy price for it.
10. Admirer Says:
August 1st, 2005 at 9:45 am

Yes, Senator. Tell Nepal’s ruler how it looks like to be Saddam Hussein now…Tell the RNA what it means to be Saddam’s army…(good at terrorizing the innocent but run away at the end)…Thank you senator…When the people are not safe from their rulers, it’s your duty to speak on behalf of the people of Nepal.
11. Backpacker Says:
August 1st, 2005 at 2:05 pm

Nepal maoist insurgency has started from Rolpa district which was once heavly donated and supported by American Government…………What Americans want is to have base between 2 gaints growing economy – India and China! American’s have been using various forces King, Maoists, political parties and others to make this mission possible. And we have Nepalese who are supporting the movement….all in the name of freedom fighting……………….Nepal Bhakundo bho…jasley lat haney pani huney……
12. Chris (uk) Says:
August 1st, 2005 at 7:42 pm

I am no apologist for US foreign policy, but in response to some of the above comments this should not distract us from what this senator is saying. Remember he’s a political opponent of the Bush administration responsible for the debacle in Iraq and Afganistan. America may be interested in the strategic importance of Nepal as a buffer between the local superpowers but it is otherwise probably not high on US agenda.

There is no clear solution to Nepal’s troubles, but the King’s actions were probably accepted by the majority of the people at the time out of either vestigeal loyalty, frustration with the ineffectiveness of the ‘democratic’ parties or general apathy and resignation to fate. It is a tragedy that a leadership vacuum has developed in this beatiful but very deprived nation.

The royal takeover will only add credence to maoist calls to destroy feudalism. At the end of the day the Nepali people will have to sort this out but, as the senator says, the rest of the world must give its clear support for the forces of democracy and civil liberty and make it clear it will not compromise in its opposition to military or fuedal subjugation of the people.
13. chinta Says:
August 1st, 2005 at 11:31 pm

this is regarding Michael and others who think only democratic senators are helping Nepal.
Well, for your information, Diane Feinstein is a democrat and is supporting the king, while
senator Rick Santrum of Pennsylvania is a republican, but is against the king.

It is a bipartisan support in the Hill. As a Nepali, I wouldn’t like to be involved in the
US politics, and wish to get support from across the parties. And I have as much faith on
republicans as on democrats. I see things on person by person basis. I also don’t forget
that it was democratic president Jimmy Carter who supported Panchayat, and even gave a speech
supporting Panchayat in its waning days.
14. Tsering Says:
August 2nd, 2005 at 1:10 pm

Yes, we the Tibetan refugees who have been living as second class citizens must get support from senators like Mr. Leahy. Once the total democracy comes in Nepal, we hope U.S. will back us in our 50 years of struggle against the Chinese tyrants who have forcibly taken over our motherland.
15. Reema Says:
August 2nd, 2005 at 1:17 pm

Senator Leahy has really made us Nepalese sad. It feels that the U.S. wants to muddle in Nepalese internal affairs and then on make it another Afghanistan or Cambodia. The image of the Americans in Nepal was that of a perfect friend in need but we were all wrong going by the events and senseless statements of past weeks. Very good comment above by “Reply” that the U.S. and Britain must now talk to Osama Bin Laden and accept his genuine demands because the American army doesn’t seem to have any counter-insurgency capability either in Afghanistan or Iraq, let alone London.