Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka has said there can be no amendment to the Millennium Challenge Corporation agreement that Nepal has signed with the United States of America.

Addressing a programme organised by NRN New York Chapter and Nepali Janasamparka Samiti in New York, Minister Khadka said amending the MCC agreement would be difficult as there was international standard for the MCC and amendment to MCC agreement in Nepal could also affect other countries where the agreement was being implemented.

Minister Khadka, who is currently leading the Nepali team to the United Nations General Assembly, said on the sideline event that the US had cancelled the MCC agreement after an African country sought removal of a clause.

Khadka said national consensus on MCC deal was indispensable but false propaganda about the deal was wrong. He said MCC was a grant project and was in the interest of the country.

"Those who question the involvement of India should understand that without the consent of India, Nepal will not be able to sell its hydel energy and if India does not grant its consent, the MCC project will be meaningless," he said. The foreign minister also took a jibe at CPN-UML Chairman and former prime minister KP Sharma Oli for demanding amendment to the MCC agreement now.

"When Oli was the prime minister, he used to say that MCC was a national necessity and it should be endorsed by the House without amendment and now when he is out of power, he is saying that the agreement should be amended before it is ratified by the Parliament," Khadka said. He said Oli had told the National Assembly that people should objectively look into the MCC deal rather than being swayed by the naysayers. He said all prime ministers after 2011, including KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, were involved in the deal and if the CPN-MC had any objections to the deal it should have raised questions during the coalition government of Nepali Congress and CPN- MC when the deal was signed. " Before a deal is passed, it is endorsed by the Cabinet and as CPN-MC was part of that coalition government led by the NC, CPN-MC should have objected then,"

Khadka said. He said rejecting MCC at this stage could put Nepal's credibility at stake.

Vice-president of the Department of Compact Operations Fatema Z Sumar had visited Nepal a few weeks ago and met leaders from the major political parties, including Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. At a press conference in Kathmandu, she had expressed hope that Nepal would endorse the MCC.

Ahead of Sumar's visit, the MCC had responded to the government's queries related to the MCC project.

The MCC, which was to enter the construction phase from 30 June 2020 has not been ratified by the Parliament.

The KP Sharma Oli government had tabled the agreement in the Parliament but as CPN-MC leaders and some UML leaders opposed the agreement, the government did not put it to vote.

The MCC agreement remains stuck in the Parliament.

A version of this article appears in the print on September 28 2021, of The Himalayan Times.