Work resumes on EU-aided projects

Kathmandu, June 2 ;

The European Union (EU) today resumed all suspended projects worth 17 million Euro in Nepal, and expressed interest in assisting the peace process here.

“We are resuming the energy project worth 10 million Euro and a project on conflict mitigation worth 7 million Euro,” said Herve Jouanjean, the visiting Deputy Director General of the European Commission to Nepal.

He also said the European Union was working on the next country strategy paper and a significant amount of aid will be made available to the country.

Jouanjean, who will wrap up his visit tomorrow, also said he had discussed with government officials about the possible contributions of the European Commission (EC) on the provision of peace-building support to Nepal.

“The European Commission has proven experience in areas such as election monitoring,promotion of human rights, post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation,” said Jouanjean.

He said he also conveyed messages to the government in support of the ongoing transition to full-fledged multiparty democracy, the establishment of an effective democratic government and efforts aimed at bringing about lasting peace.

“We will certainly examine the request and all possibilities (of European Union’s assistance in ceasefire monitoring), if asked for,” he said.

The EU already contributes 80 per cent of the budget of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Kathmandu.

He expressed the European Commission’s hope that all parties to the conflict will show clear commitment to lasting peace and make credible efforts to settle differences.

“It is essential that both the government of Nepal and the Maoists respect the ceasefire,” said Jouanjean. He called upon all sides to uphold human rights and observe international humanitarian law.

“It is of utmost importance that this opportunity is not lost and that Nepal embarks on a trail of peace, stability, and social and economic prosperity,” said the senior European Commission official.

Laying stress on the European Union’s position, he said: “The Maoists must renounce violence and commit to decommissioning their weapons as a precondition for free and fair elections to a Constituent Assembly as part of a peace process.”

Jouanjean left it for Nepalis to decide what type of constitution and government they wish for Nepal and further added: “It is important that the processes towards a peaceful Nepal are inclusive, transparent, and accountable.”