UN urges crisis-hit Nepal to show 'great' leadership



Kathmandu: Ahead of an unprecedented crisis in Nepal and the shadow of an emergency and President’s Rule, the UN on Saturday urged the warring sides to show "great" leadership and compromise.

"This is the time for great political leadership and restraint on all sides," said UN Assistant Secretary General Ajay Chhibber, who met embattled Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal during his visit to the republic.

"Dialogue is important," Chhibber added. "And compromise on all sides."

The UN envoy said the political leadership of Nepal must find a way to take the peace process forward. The broad message of his organisation was a democratic and peaceful process was the best process and that the new Constitution should be inclusive.

Chhiber’s statements indicated that the UN as well as the international community had accepted the fact that Nepal would not be able to implement a new Constitution by May 28 and that there could be President’s Rule and a state of emergency after that.

"It was too optimistic to be expecting that the Constitution-writing process would be done by May 28," the UN official said. "Some extension of that process is clearly needed. In three months or six months, that is for the political parties to decide.”

"We are emphasising that the process should be inclusive. A wide range of people should feel their voices have been heard and be willing to accept the new Constitution."

Despite the period of political difficulty, Chhibber said the UN was encouraged that efforts were being made to keep the peace process going.

"Reversal of that would be very, very dangerous for Nepal and very costly," he warned.

Once the political turmoil was resolved, Chhibber said Nepal, by virtue of being located between India and China, two of the fastest growing economies, would benefit tremendously.

"If (the political crisis) is resolved, progress can be very, very rapid," he said. "The next decade will be a decade of double digit growth."

The mounting world concern was also expressed by the European Union.

The office of Catherine Ashton, vice president of the European Commission, issued a statement late Friday night saying it was deeply concerned with the lack of progress in the peace process.

IANS