West offers support to Nepal parties

The 25-member European Union and the US offered assistance to Nepal's new government.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2006 17:49 IST

With Nepal's parliament due to meet on Friday after four years and hopes of peace reviving, major donor countries pledged support for the conflict-battered nation and asked the Maoist insurgents to silence their guns.

The 25-member European Union and the US offered assistance to Nepal's new government to be headed by opposition leader Girija Prasad Koirala, with some EU members renewing the offer individually as well.

The US, which was the first to downscale its activities in Nepal, asking citizens to stay away from the warring country and pulling out non-essential staff this month when anti-government protests shook the country, expressed its readiness to give help to the new government.

Adam Ereli, deputy spokesman at the US Department of State, said in a statement from Washington that his government supported the Nepalis' courage and resilience in their fight for democracy and asked the parties to fulfil the people's desire for good governance.

Asking the Maoists to end their violent attacks and join a peaceful political process, the official said the US and international community stood ready to help.

India on Tuesday offered to provide a new economic package to Nepal, noting that the country's economic situation is on the brink of collapse.

British foreign office Minister Kim Howells urged the parties to work together and the Maoists to prove their commitment to democracy by giving up violence and by entering into a peace process with the new government, beginning with a ceasefire.

"We want to reiterate the UK's readiness to assist the new government and the people of Nepal in support of peace, democracy and development," Howells said.

Earlier, the EU said it welcomed King Gyanendra's recall of parliament, thereby recognising that sovereignty belongs to the people and asked the Maoists to become a part of the political mainstream and renounce violence.

Welcoming the new development, Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Toernaes said the most important task ahead was the need to secure a peaceful solution to the insurgency and asked the Maoists to renounce violence and join the democratic process.

"It is imperative that the international community extend full support to the democratic forces in Nepal in the difficult and challenging period ahead," she said.

"Denmark stands ready to continue its support to the process ahead towards peace, democracy and development."

Norway, according to a media report, has decided to reverse a decision to reduce aid by 10 per cent, taken after the royal coup last year.

First Published: Apr 26, 2006 17:49 IST