US General meets senior officials

Kathmandu, February 1:

The commander of the United States Pacific Command (PACOM), Admiral William J Fallon, arrived here today for a 24-hour visit to Nepal.

The purpose of the Admiral’s visit, according to the US embassy, was to convey “serious US concern about the situation in Nepal, including both the threat posed by the Maoist insurgency and the King’s decision just one year ago to sideline Nepal’s political parties and establish rule from the palace.”

However, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ramesh Nath Pandey after meeting with the visiting Admiral this afternoon, said the visiting General has appreciated the King’s address today.

“The visiting US dignitory has appreciated the roadmap for Nepal’s future in the Royal proclamation delivered by the King today,” Pandey said. He said the four-star General’s visit has increased understanding between the two countries as “various areas for cooperation” were discussed during his one-to-one meeting with Fallon.

Pandey elaborated that the purpose of Fallon’s visit was to “assess the situation in Nepal” and has turned useful. Admiral Fallon also paid a courtesy call to the King. He conveyed US’s concerns to the Chief of the Army Staff, General Pyar Jung Thapa, and Minister for Home Affairs Kamal Thapa in separate meetings today.

Home Minister Thapa apprised Fallon about the current security scenario. Nepali officials are also learnt to have expressed Nepal’s expectation of security cooperation with the US. Officials said Fallon’s visit is “in favour of the RNA.” The US had suspended “lethal military assistance” to RNA after February 1 last year, while it has already resumed training RNA soldiers.

It was the first visit here by any senior commander of US military forces in the Pacific and Indian oceans. In the American military’s operational chain of command, Admiral Fallon reports directly to the Secretary of Defence and the President. Fellon is also scheduled to meet some political leaders here, stated the US embassy.