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Steven R. Mann Statement on Visit to Nepal

Statement on Visit to Nepal

Steven R. Mann, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs
American Center Library in Kathmandu
Kathmandu, Nepal
October 6, 2006


Released by U.S. Embassy Nepal

As prepared for delivery

The purpose of my visit was to understand more fully the state of affairs in Nepal, in particular the peace process and the democratic transition underway. There is real interest in Washington in developments here and I needed to see the situation for myself. I have benefited from excellent meetings and am warmly grateful to my interlocutors for receiving me at the holiday time. I leave today for Washington.

As a first point, let me underscore how the United States is supporting Nepal's response to these historic opportunities and challenges. We announced recently that USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) will provide up to $15 million over two years in small grants and short-term technical assistance to support the peace process. In addition, USAID development assistance to Nepal climbed to $45 million in Fiscal Year 2006. We have been committed for more than 50 years to helping Nepal reach a level of economic development and democratic governance so that someday all Nepalis, regardless of age, caste or gender, may enjoy fully productive lives. This increase was due in part to U.S. determination to support Nepal's democratic transition after the King relinquished power and reinstated Parliament.

Much is at stake. This is a period of great promise for Nepal but it is a promise that can only be achieved with determination, insight, and sincerity throughout the peace process. Any peace must be a meaningful peace: one that firmly respects multi-party democracy and freedom of opinion, one that has no place whatsoever for Maoist intimidation, coercion, or violence. In sum, we look for an outcome that strengthens rule of law and leads to strong and sustained economic and social development, guided by effective governmental institutions.

Let me close with two brief observations from my experience as a negotiator. The first is that any successful negotiation must be characterized by strict observance of commitments made in the negotiations. If commitments are not observed, the basis for real progress is weak indeed. Secondly, no negotiations can ever succeed without compromises from all parties. This situation will be no exception.

In sum, the United States looks forward to continuing to support Nepal in the unfolding peace process and democratic transition.

Released on October 6, 2006

ENDS


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