Kathmandu, April 5

European Union Ambassador to Nepal Rinsje Teerink today claimed that the EU had no intention of hurting the sentiments of Nepali people by referring to Nepal’s new constitution in a recent EU-India summit statement.

Calling on Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa at the latter’s office in Singha Durbar, she expressed ‘surprise’ at the wording of the joint-communiqué, which was quite prescriptive. “Our intention was not to offend Nepal. I am surprised by its language,” a source quoted Teerink as saying. A diplomatic source confirmed the EU envoy herself had taken initiative to clarify.

DPM Thapa had asked Teerink whether there was any change in EU’s position on Nepal’s constitution and had sought to know how it became a subject of EU-India discussion, according the DPM’s Public Relations and Communications Adviser Mohan Shrestha.

He told the envoy that Nepal was capable of resolving its problems and made it clear that any external attempt to meddle in its internal affairs was unacceptable, Shrestha added.

Teerink said the EU had supported Nepal’s constitution-making process all along and welcomed the charter, promulgated in September 2015.

The EU envoy and her deputy spent half an hour with DPM and tried to clear the air after Nepal took serious exception to the joint statement, which was issued following a meeting between the EU leaders and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Brussels on March 30.

The joint statement said that the EU and India “agreed on the need for a lasting and inclusive constitutional settlement in Nepal that will address the remaining constitutional issues in a time bound manner, and promote political stability and economic growth”.

In a strongly-worded statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately denounced the statement, calling it ‘foreign interference’ in Nepal’s domestic affairs. Later, a Cabinet meeting had seconded the position taken by the MoFA.

Meanwhile, a visiting German parliamentary delegation today said reference to Nepal in the EU-India statement was ‘inappropriate’.

The four-member all-party delegation was led by Tabea Roessner and held a meeting with a group of Nepali lawmakers led by NC’s MP Minendra Rijal.

Ram Narayan Bidari of UCPN-M said Germany welcomed Nepal’s new constitution and its position had been the same all along.