U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Evan Feigenbaum met with Nepalese political leaders in June to discuss Nepal’s political process. They also discussed U.S. concerns over violence and the role the international community can play as the country seeks stability, democracy and economic improvement. Mr. Feigenbaum said the U.S. regards the April 10th Constituent Assembly elections as a watershed event in Nepal’s history. “Something happened that day, and so, on the first instance, we congratulate the people of Nepal on their achievement of holding that election.”
The elections were a positive step toward peace and full democracy and provided the Nepali people with a long awaited opportunity to elect representatives who will govern the country and draft a new constitution.
The question is, he noted, what happens next?
Nepal faces many challenges – drafting a constitution, forming the new government, and sharing power amongst the political parties. Action is needed to address serious fuel and commodity shortages and endemic poverty. “Whatever party Nepalese politicians come from, the expectations of their constituents are very high that they’ll get down to the business of governing the country,” said Mr. Feigenbaum. The U.S., he said, has conducted a “very substantial, multidimensional” assistance program in Nepal, ranging from economic aid to programs supporting democracy, civil society, and government institutions, security, health and education.
Assistant Secretary Feigenbaum said the United States has “also taken a particular interest in the peace process and the democratization process.” The U.S. provided support for the April 10th election including training the election commission, civic education efforts, and providing ballots for the voters.
“We’re very concerned about the level of violence in this country,” said Mr. Feigenbaum. Ending violence in Nepal, he said, is “not just a message for the Maoists,” but for all political parties, factions, and their supporters. The U.S., said Deputy Assistant Secretary Feigenbaum, has a continuing interest in a stable, democratic and prosperous Nepal.