Switzerland ready to mediate, says diplomat

Kathmandu, November 22:

A Swiss diplomat, Dr Gunther Baechler, has said that international pressure on the palace is weak to end the Nepali crisis.

“International actors hesitate or fear (to pressure the palace) because of the influence of India, China and even Japan,” Dr Baechler, Special Advisor for Peace Building in Nepal in the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, told this daily today.

He said there was no “unity and clear strategy” on Nepal among the western powers. Some of the western actors, according to him, want to play only a “secondary role” thinking it is India’s job to resolve the conflict in Nepal .

“But as India is too close and interdependent with Nepal it will not be an honest broker, he said Dr Baechler stating that his country would be able to play the role of mediator if needed.

About the Delhi talks between the Maoists and political parties, he said, “They may reach an agreement but it may not be implemented without the palace, so nothing might really change.”

He cautioned the parties of losing credibility “if they depend on the Maoists’ tolerance, or on the Maoists for agitating against the King; the rebels may use it (alliance with parties) for their own purposes.” “There is nothing wrong if the Maoists join the mainstream, otherwise it (the parties-Maoists alliance) will only further strengthen the Maoists, “ said Baechler.

“ The Maoists’ wish to lay down arms to UN is a sincere offer, but it is not going to happen immediately.”

He asked: “Why doesn’t the government call the international community to discuss creation of an environment to hold free and fair polls? The parties may agree to take part in the polls if held under international monitoring.”