Summary: Nepal: EU Troika Visit (17 November 2006: Brussels)
A European Union (EU) Troika visited Kathmandu from 15 to 17 November 2006. This was the third EU Troika visit to Nepal, following those in December 2004 and October 2005.
This EU visit to Nepal comes at a key moment, when the country is undergoing a political transformation with significant implications for Nepal and the region.
The EU looks forward wholeheartedly to the early signing of a Comprehensive Peace Accord between the Seven Party Alliance and CPN-M (Communist Party of Nepal - Maoist), as foreseen by the Baluwatar agreement of 8 November 2006.
The EU fully supports the efforts of the United Nations in helping the parties to make progress in the peace process and to implement their commitments. The EU stands ready to provide such assistance as it may in support of the Government of Nepal.
It is an immediate priority that the people of Nepal should see the benefits of the peace process for which they have provided the impetus. A first, tangible step towards normality would be for all parties to allow unimpeded access to local public services.
The people of Nepal are entitled to live by the rule of law. It is important that impunity should end, law and order be maintained, and that civilians live without fear. There can be no place in today's Nepal for abductions, extortion and political violence. The EU would welcome the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Nepal.
The EU appreciates the crucial role that civil society has played in representing the various voices of the Nepalese people and shaping political developments in Nepal. The EU reiterates its support to the civil society and calls on all parties to ensure the continued participation of civil society in the peace process.
The EU strongly supports the important work of OHCHR in Nepal. The EU also emphasises the need for an effective, independent and inclusive national body for human rights monitoring, protection and advocacy in Nepal. The EU continues to follow carefully the human rights situation in Nepal and urges all parties to fulfil their commitments and cooperate fully with OHCHR.
It is vital that the forthcoming elections to the Constituent Assembly be free and fair, held in an environment without intimidation. The EU is considering how to provide assistance in preparation and observation of these elections. Any such assistance will be defined in the light of a request from the Election Commission, in cooperation with the UN.
The EU welcomes the plans for representatives of traditionally marginalised groups to be represented in the planned Interim Parliament. For lasting peace and stability, the constitutional process must address the fundamental causes of conflict. Socio-economic reform, inclusion and democratic values must remain high on the political agenda. It is important that the new Constitution represent the people of Nepal in all their diversity.
The EU urges both sides to work together to ensure full implementation of their agreements in the interests of all the people of Nepal. This will be a challenging task, especially considering the timelines announced, and will require concerted efforts from all sides.
The Troika carried a mandate to speak on behalf of all 25 Member States of the EU: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The Troika was led by Mr Pekka Metso, Director for Asia and Oceania in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, representing the Presidency of the EU. The European Commission was represented by Mr James Moran, Director for Asia. The incoming German Presidency of the EU was represented by Mr Thomas Wriessnig, Head of the Division South Asia. The EU's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy was represented by Mr Michael Swann, South Asia Desk Officer at the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU.
During the course of its visit the Troika met with the following: