THT 10 YEARS AGO: PM under pressure, Maoists silent

Kathmandu, July 24, 2007

Though Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has come under intense pressure to appoint ambassadors in 16 world capitals, the CPN-Maoist has refused to nominate its candidates.

The Maoists have not nominated a single candidate, saying that the distribution of capitals among parties was not made as per an “initial consensus.” They have been demanding London if not New Delhi or Beijing, but Koirala has offered them Paris, Copenhagen and Vienna. The Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor, Dr Suresh Chalise, says the Maoists had earlier agreed on ambassadorial seats in France, Denmark and Australia.

Maoist leader Mohan Vaidhya, however, said: “The capitals were not distributed as per the initial agreement.” “The Maoists had earlier agreed on Australia, Denmark and France, but they have not yet forwarded their nominees,” Dr Chalise told this daily today.

On the contrary, Maoist leader Mohan Vaidhya said: “Since the issue of who goes where has not been settled so far, there is no question of nominating anyone.” He said the important world capitals must be fairly divided among the parties.

He added that the Maoists had earlier demanded either Beijing or New Delhi. When the Nepali Congress (NC) denied it, the Maoists’ next demand was Britain.

The pressure on Koirala has mounted after foreign envoys in Kathmandu started urging him to make the appointments soon. French ambassador to Nepal Michael Jolivet yesterday met Koirala and urged him to appoint an envoy to Paris as soon as possible.

Thapa goes down memory lane

Kathmandu, July 24, 2007

Chairman of the Rastriya Janashakti Party (RJP) Surya Bahadur Thapa revealed for the first time today that the Nepali Congress agreed to the elections during his stint as Prime Minister after Lokendra Bahadur Chand bowed out as PM. It may be recalled that Thapa succeeded Chand as Prime Minister.

He also expressed alarm at the prospect that some parties were trying to convert the interim parliament into a constituent assembly by adding certain seats for the Madhesis.

Talking to THT at his residence in Maligaon today, Thapa said the Nepali Congress in Spring 2004 had agreed to join the government once it had set a date for the election.

However, he could not move ahead with this plan. “One fine morning, I received a call from the palace and the King told me, ‘Here, PM, I have not been able to withstand the pressure despite all my efforts. How would it be if you resign?’”

Thapa said he felt saddened by the King’s step, as the elections would have opened an easy solution to the country’s problems. Thapa, however, believes that the time for slow political evolution is over and there has to be deep reaching changes through the means of constituent assembly elections.