Govt makes its position clear on Venezuela

Kathmandu, January 29

Under pressure, the government today issued a statement making clear its position on the political crisis in Venezuela which observers termed ‘carefully-worded’ and ‘tacitly consistent’ with the one issued by Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement says: “In line with its principled position, Nepal believes that internal political problems of a country need to be resolved within its constitutional parameters in a democratic manner, free from external interferences. The people of Venezuela have the ultimate authority to take a decision on the country’s political and constitutional course. We stand for peace, stability and unity of Venezuela and call for resolution of differences through peaceful means.”

Dahal had issued a ‘strongly-worded’ statement on Friday supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and denouncing ‘intervention in internal affairs’ of Venezuela by the US and its allies.

“It is an unacceptable intrusion in internal affairs and an attempt of the imperialist coup. US has been trying to create chaos and violence putting inhuman economic sanctions and threatening military intervention in Venezuela since last decade. It’s a serious challenge to the UN Charter and Principle of Peaceful Co-existence. Therefore, we call the US and other countries to respect the principle of non-interference, national sovereignty and peaceful coexistence,” read the statement issued by the NCP.

Venezuela plunged into a political crisis after opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president, challenging Maduro’s authority last Wednesday.

Following the statement from the ruling party, the US Embassy in Kathmandu also requested the government to make its official position clear.  Observers said although the government had the option not to speak on the Venezuela crisis, Dahal’s ‘hastily-issued’ statement put the government under pressure to make its view clear.

Former foreign secretary Madhu Raman Acharya said the government’s statement was tacitly consistent with the one issued by Dahal, which should not have come in the first place.

“I do not know what prompted the ruling party and the government to annoy a country like the US with which we have multi-faceted ties, including trade, investment and development cooperation, and side with a country with which we don’t have deep relations,” he said.

Foreign affairs and security expert Geja Sharma Wagle said, “Both the government and Dahal exhibited diplomatic immaturity. This might affect Nepal’s relations with the US and other western democratic countries.”

However, officials at the MoFA say the statement is consistent with Nepal’s principled position for the past 20-30 years and was not a departure from the past.