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Nepal feared being another Myanmar

US tactics pressing Nepal’s last king to take “right steps” on multi-party democracy could turn the country into another Burma, Nepal’s foreign minister felt at the height of civil war.

world Updated: Jan 16, 2011 00:06 IST
Utpal Parashar

US tactics pressing Nepal’s last king to take “right steps” on multi-party democracy could turn the country into another Burma, Nepal’s foreign minister felt at the height of civil war.

A US diplomatic cable dated December 15, 2005 following a meeting between former foreign minister Ramesh Nath Pandey and US Ambassador to Nepal James Moriarty states this.

The cable released by whistleblower website Wikileaks mentions how Pandey urges US to support King Gyandendra Shah to prevent the country being taken over by Maoist rebels.

Instead of using tactics that “could result in Nepal becoming another Burma”, the US should “encourage” the King to move towards multi-party democracy, the cable mentions Pandey as telling Moriarty.

The minister felt that rather than using pressure to force the King to restore democracy, the US should “change course” and use engagement.

Stating that Nepal’s long-term interest was in a relationship with US, not China or India, Pandey stressed there should be “total understanding between the US and the King” to get rid of problems.

The minister said if the King knew he could depend on the US, “things would be completely different”.

Moriarty responded that the “US would be there for Nepal” if the King took the right steps of declaring a ceasefire with international monitoring and reach out to political parties in a “right way”.

Complaining that leaders of political parties were a “major problem”, Pandey had proposed that the King bypass top leaders and encourage middle tier leaders to join the government.

But the US Ambassador felt that Pandey’s proposal would “essentially involve decapitating the parties and was unacceptable”.

He warned that attempting to manipulate internal warnings of the political parties would not prove a “successful strategy”.