Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, during a Security Council Briefing on Nepal

Susan E. Rice
United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
May 5, 2009


Thank you, Mr. President. Special Representative Landgren, I’m pleased to welcome you to the Council for the first time in your new role, and I’m grateful for your briefing.
Let me also thank you and your staff for your efforts to carry out UNMIN’s mandate and help the people of Nepal move forward with the peace process.

The events that have shaken Nepal over the past few days, leading to the May 4 resignation of the Prime Minister, make it abundantly clear that Nepal’s leaders must recommit themselves to implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
We urge all parties to abide by the interim Constitution and use it as a basis for resolving the current impasse. Political parties must engage in dialogue to resolve their disputes and, as appropriate, resort to the courts.

As Nepal’s political parties move to end the current standoff, they should ensure the continuity of legitimate and effective government.

The resignation of the Prime Minister must not be allowed to create a political vacuum, and the formation of a new government must not drag on for months.

We remind all political parties of the need to avoid tactics that might lead to bloodshed, including large demonstrations, calls for general strikes, and provocative statements and actions. In particular, we urge the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist to remain involved in the political process. That includes participating in the Constituent Assembly and in all peace-process-related bodies, including those related to the process of drafting a Constitution.

The continued misuse of political youth groups also threatens the peace process. The United States urges the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist to renounce all violence committed by its militant Young Communist League and to take concrete steps to transform that group into an exclusively nonviolent one. And, equally, we urge other parties to do likewise with their own youth wings and ensure that their activities are peaceful and constructive.

The Special Committee should now continue its consultations, and the newly established Technical Committee should move to implement its decisions. As one step forward, we help the Government of Nepal to move immediately to adopt the Special Representative’s suggestions to consolidate arms and soldiers into fewer cantonments and to discharge minors.

Mr. President, we hope the people of Nepal and their leaders will not lose sight of the enormous progress they have made toward establishing peace. They have peacefully ended a violent insurgency and started a process of reconciliation that holds the promise of long-term security, stability, and peace. These accomplishments must not be threatened by a failure to implement parts of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that were fully agreed to by all parties.

But for now, these achievements remain at risk while so many important aspects of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement are still unfulfilled. The Maoist-led government and the Nepali Army must recognize that lasting democracy is rooted in the principle of civilian control of the military—and depends on the prudent exercise of that control. As the Secretary-General’s report notes, some progress has been made toward integrating the People’s Liberation Army and the Nepali Army, but these advances are threatened by infighting.

Like the statement before the Council today, we call on the Nepal’s Government and all political parties to recommit themselves to working together, in the spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and under the terms of the interim Constitution. The parties must ensure continuity of government, strengthen multi-party democracy, and protect and promote human rights.

As the end of UNMIN’s current mandate approaches next month, we will look forward to consulting with Nepal’s leaders and our Council colleagues on how best this Council can contribute to lasting peace and stability in Nepal. The country has come too far to let itself fall back.

Thank you, Mr. President.


PRN: 2009/086