U.S. Assistant Secy Blake says creating an attractive investment climate is critical for Nepal’s economic growth
Visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake has said a key part of concluding a successful peace process of Nepal will be for all parties “to develop transitional justice mechanisms that are independent, credible, and transparent,” adding that it should address the concerns of all Nepalis, particularly the victims and their families.
Visiting US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs...
“It is crucial that any Truth and Reconciliation Commission be credible and aligned with internationally recognized human rights standards. We know most Nepalis agree that more must be done to hold wrongdoers accountable and uphold the rule of law,” he said while speaking at a press conference held at Hyatt Hotel in Kathmandu before leaving Nepal following the end of his two-day visit Tuesday evening.
He said he had a “busy and productive visit”. During his stay, Blake called on Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and also held meetings with Nepali Congress vice president Ram Chandra Poudel, CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal, Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Army Chief Gaurav Rana, business leaders, and members of the Tibetan community as well as civil society.
“U.S. policy goals in Nepal are clear. We wish to see a stable, democratic, and prosperous Nepal in which the rights of all citizens are protected and the rule of law respected,” the Assistant Secretary said. He said Nepal has made significant progress since the end of the conflict in 2006, adding that now is the time for all political leaders to commit to “finishing the job for the future of the country.” Blake also urged political party leaders to demonstrate real statesmanship
“If Nepal’s political leaders can put aside their differences and work together, we are confident that outstanding constitutional issues can be settled,” he said. Saying that on September 6 the Department of State revoked the designation of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) from two designated terrorist lists, Blake said this delisting reflects the United States’ resolve to keep its terrorism sanctions current and demonstrates that a group need not stay on a terrorist list forever, should it demonstrate a credible commitment to pursuing peace and reconciliation.
Blake further said that while political discussions continue, creating an attractive investment climate is critical for Nepal’s economic growth and development.
“Business leaders briefed me on the negative effects internal political problems, corruption, and lack of dependable electricity have had on investment. I encourage renewed effort to work with the government to develop sound economic policies and a stable political situation that will attract foreign investors,” he opined.
He said the U.S. has been proud to support Nepal’s development for 61 years and that strong support continues, adding that Nepal is a strong partner in three of President Obama’s signature development initiatives: 1) improving health (especially for Nepali mothers and children), increasing food security, and addressing the impact of climate change. “We are also working together on natural disaster risk reduction, combating human trafficking and safeguarding human rights for minority
groups, women and the LGBT community. The arrival of 20 new Peace Corps volunteers after an eight-year absence is one of the many positive developments in our bilateral relationship, as is a commitment to establish a new Millennium Challenge Cooperation program, for which discussions will begin shortly.”
Lastly, Blake thanked Nepal for being a “generous host” to Tibetan refugees for more than 50 years.
“Nepal’s commitment to the protection of Tibetan refugees, both those in the long-staying community and new arrivals transiting to India, has earned Nepal international respect. We believe strongly that Tibetan refugees, like all people, deserve to lead lives of dignity and purpose,” he added. nepalnews.com