KATHMANDU: In what seems to be European Union’s local missions’ bid for hegemony, EU member states’ envoys and representatives in Kathmandu have ‘directly approached’ the Office of President, ignoring the government, to draw the attention of the Head of State to the content of Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Inquiry on Disappearances — an ordinance for which has been pending at the Office of the President.
The ambassadors and representatives of EU’s missions, including those of Norway, Switzerland and Denmark, had requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a meeting with President Ram Baran Yadav. But sources told this daily that MoFA not only rejected the request but also warned them — through separate circulars — not to make such bid to discuss ‘political contents’ with the constitutional President. The Ordinance on TRC and CID was forwarded by the government to the Office of President on August 28.
The Delegation of the EU to Nepal, on behalf of all the missions, confirmed with THT that it ‘had requested a meeting with the President on the said matter’. “We confirm that we had requested a meeting with the President to discuss developments on the adoption of new legislation in the current context of the peace process,” said Lluis Navarro, First Secretary at the Delegation of the EU to Nepal.
The EU and other international community have long been pressing for the early adoption of legislation on TRC and CID, saying these were the most crucial part of the peace process and transitional justice. Navarro, however, underscored that the missions were not aware of the fact that MoFA ‘has taken a specific position in regards to the role of the President on the matter’.
MoFA sources told THT that the EU and other missions had sent a letter to MoFA requesting its approval for a meeting with the President on August 31. The ministry had given a lukewarm response, but enough for the diplomatic missions to comprehend that it was not interested. Despite this, the missions ‘directly approached’ the Office of the President, which MoFA has ‘interpreted as foreign interference into Nepal’s internal affairs’, said a MoFA official. “This is against the nicety of diplomatic decorum and has been perceived as an attempt to drag the constitutional Head of State into political issues.” The Office of the President, however, has told the missions that it would take a decision on the matter on September 9.
“After learning that the missions were trying to reach out to the President, we sent circulars to all concerned embassies asking them not to make such a move,” said a top official at MoFA. “The ministry has also communicated with the Office of the President, requesting not to arrange any meeting.”
Confirming the development, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha said he firmly ‘believes that the missions will understand the sensitivities of the host nation’. “As per international practices, all diplomatic dealings and correspondences should be done through MoFA. The international community is always welcome to discuss (this) matter with political parties and the government officials, including at my and the prime minister’s level.”
Rajendra Dahal, Press Adviser to President Yadav, told THT that the Office of the President would act as per MoFA’s advice.
Issuing separate statements on August 30, the EU countries and the United Nations in Nepal had drawn the attention of the government to formation of TRC and CID.