EU pledges help to interim govt

Kathmandu, November 17:

The European Union (EU) troika led by Pekka Metso today wrapped up its three-day visit stating that the EU would continue to provide assistance to an interim government which would also include the Maoists.

“EU has welcomed the agreement, and an interim arrangement is set in this accord.

We will support that inclusive process and are ready to work with the interim government,” said Metso.

He, however, said the EU would treat the Maoists as political parties once they deliver how political parties are supposed to and expressed EU’s concerns on the continued intimidation, recruitment, extortion and political violence.

“Intimidation is unacceptable when you are moving towards democratic elections, there can be no place in today’s Nepal for abductions, extortion and political violence. It is important that impunity should end and law and order maintained,” said Metso.

The troika also confirmed about increasing EU development assistance for 2007 once the comprehensive peace accord is signed, and political stability restored.

The troika members also expressed EU’s willingness to provide assistance in preparation and observation of the elections to the constituent assembly. “Any such assistance will be defined in the light of a request from the Elections Commission, in cooperation with the UN,” said Metso.

Citing the example of EU providing observers for the elections in Bangladesh, James Moran, EU Director of Asia added that EU was looking forward to sending a substantial number of observers to Nepal. He said that Nepal was in the priority of EU but the funds will be clarified by the government of Nepal and the projects will be shared by the international donors. The troika, after meeting Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, members of the negotiating teams of the government and Maoists and other political leaders got an impression that the leaders concerned are “determined” to make the peace process successful.

Metso expressed that EU is confident with UN expertise in handling the matter of arms management. “Everybody now has to deliver, the EU fully supports the efforts of the UN in helping the parties to make progress in the peace process and to implement their commitments. The EU stands ready to provide such assistance as it may in support of the government of Nepal,” he stated.