Pandey calls detractors ignorant

Kathmandu, September 9:

On the eve of his visit to New York to participate in the high level plenary meeting of the 60th session of the UN General Assembly, Minister for Foreign Affairs Ramesh Nath Pandey today charged the country’s political leaders with not having adequate knowledge of international affairs. Pandey was responding to queries at a press meet over the political parties’ submitting a letter to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan appealing the latter not to allow the Nepal government’s representative to speak at the UN forum. “The country’s image and prestige is most important, so I won’t give any leeway to irresponsible comments by the political parties,” Pandey said.

The minister also said there were no “ifs and buts” about the King’s commitment to “peace and multiparty democracy through free and fair elections.” Regarding ceasefire, he said anyone wishing to restore peace was welcome but dialogue with Maoists would take place only at the “meeting point of patriotism.” Pandey ruled out the possibility of UN involvement in resolving Nepal’s crisis. Regarding the Bhutanese refugees’ issue, he said both countries have agreed to resolve the problem. “The problem should be solved according to the agreement but Nepal will not interfere in the relations between the Bhutanese government and its people,” Pandey said. He is scheduled to meet the Bhutanese Foreign Minister in New York.

Pandey added Madhu Raman Acharya, Nepal’s permanent representative to UN has presented letters of credence to Annan yesterday at the UN Headquarters.

Meanwhile, former minister Ram Sharan Mahat said Nepal’s inability to attend the UN General Assembly at the highest-level would have an adverse impact on the country’s image. “The government has lost on every front, including foreign affairs,” said Nepali Congress leader Dr Mahat. He said the government has been isolated both inside and outside county as intellectuals have stopped speaking for the King. He said until the three conflicting parties come to a common agenda, no amount of mediation would help. “A credible international facilitator is necessary but it does not necessarily have to be the UN.”

FNJ’s plea to Annan

KATHMANDU:The Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) today handed a memorandum to UN secretary general Kofi Annan through the UN Resident Representative in Nepal, requesting the latter to incorporate Nepal’s media crisis as a special agenda in the 60th UN general assembly. The memorandum said the armed rebellion, coupled with atrocities perpetrated by the security forces in the name of containing insurgency, has resulted in an explosion of cases that violate the rights of the Nepalis. “The unfolding situation in Nepal is nothing but the world’s greatest rights and humanitarian crises in the making,” read the statement. “The situation has improved but not the intention of the government – an intention to silence to the media and any voice seeking correction of the government’s regressive steps,” it said, adding the gravity of the situation can be determined by the fact that over 18 media persons have been killed by the warring parties so far. — HNS