Democratic path can resolve crisis: Jeffery

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 27:

Reiterating his government’s demand for early restoration of civil liberty and democracy in the country, the British special envoy to Nepal, Sir Jeffery James, today suggested a “democratic middle ground” as first step towards conflict resolution.

He suggested the political parties to come up with a collective view to regain people’s confidence. Stating some observers’ perception on parties’ failure to meet the people’s aspirations, he added that it was a crucial time for parties to ponder over their achievements and failures. “National interest should come before parties’ interests,” he said. He urged leaders to search for democracy within their own parties to ensure that policies are well matched with the people’s aspirations.

Speaking at an interaction on ‘Nepal in Conflict’ organised by Ganesh Man Singh Academy, he said that the key players should have a “long-term vision” to resolve the conflict. “There are alternate ways to end the war. At least a democratic environment, though not fully functional, is required to begin an inclusive peace process,” said James. Regarding the international community’s role, he said the countries should support Nepal in achieving a sustained “democratic middle ground from where the conflict can be resolved.”

Citing that Maoists and government forces are convinced on achieving military victory, he firmly stated that there could be no military solution to the conflict. With reference to the degrading democratic institution he said: “There are desperate prospects of conflict.” Confirming the international communities’ support on reconstruction and rebuilding process, the envoy said: “International communities will be extremely supportive but it is up to the Nepali key players to set the agenda. Nothing can be done by the international community if the players are not flexible.”

Nilambar Acharya, former minister of law and justice, said that reinstatement of the House of Representatives would bring back the constitution in place. “The next move could be the formation of a unity government which can pressurise the Maoists to come to the table, end the insurgency and pave way for fresh national elections.”

“Democracy was not given enough time to address and rectify its leaders’ mistakes through self correction and to consolidate people’s position as a sovereignty-wielding power,” he said.

Citizens alone should be regarded as the country’s sovereign power and parties should be perceived as political organisations of the people and the parliament its sole representative. “The parliament should seek, find and legitimise the solutions to the conflict,” he added.