THT 10 YEARS AGO: Prachanda wants Carter to lobby over terror tag

Kathmandu, June 15, 2007

Maoist big guns Prachanda and Dr Baburam Bhattarai today met former US President Jimmy Carter and asked him to use his influence to remove the Maoists from the US Government’s terrorist watch list.

“We want to improve friendly relations with the US. But the US government has put us on its terrorist watch list,” Prachanda told the media after meeting Carter for about 50 minutes at the Soaltee Crwon Plaza in the afternoon.

Flanked by Dr Bhattarai, Prachanda said that they wanted to hold talks with the US government “at any level”. He said he told Carter that the US government’s attitude towards his party was “negative”. Bhattarai said Carter assured them that he would submit a report to the US President. “Our meeting with him was very constructive and positive,” a smiling Prachanda said.

He also said that they exchanged views on all issues, including the current political situation, the peace process and the constituent assembly election. “We told him that the sooner the election is held, the faster the country will move towards peace and prosperity,” Prachanda said, adding that they had fought for 10 years to conduct the election so that people could make their constitution by themselves.

He said they also drew Carter’s attention towards cases of disappearances and imprisonment of their cadres on various charges despite the fact that the peace process has moved in a positive direction.

No politics in US offer, Moriarty tells refugee leaders

Kathmandu, June 15, 2007

US Ambassador to Nepal James F Moriarty has told Bhutanese refugee leaders that it is essential that refugees have the freedom to make ‘well-informed’ and independent decisions on their future without fear of threats or intimidation.

In a meeting the envoy had with the refugee leaders here today, Moriarty said the resettlement offer made by the Core Group of donor governments was “solely on humanitarian concerns” and for the well-being of the refugees in Nepal. “The resettlement offer has not been made for political reasons,” he added.

Saying that the US supports the right of eligible refugees to go back to Bhutan and will continue to urge that country to fulfil its obligations in this regard, Moriarty said third country resettlement does not prelude the right of the refugees to return to their homeland.

Moriarty urged all refugees to reject violence and respect each other’s right to choose their own future. “Violence will have a negative and lasting effect on the refugee community and could harm their future opportunities for repatriation to Bhutan,” he told the refugee leaders.