June 13, 2007

Carter comes to Nepal

Jimmy Carter came to Kathmandu today. I don't know much about Carter Center's success rate in mediation between conflicting parties or its monitoring of elections, human rights etc. They have their presence in Nepal since last four years.

Anyway, after almost one and half decade of civil war, what we need is peace and peace and peace. But as soon as the largest insurgent group of Maoists gave up armed struggle (at least in written policy only) and participated in the government, other smaller armed groups are seen everywhere in the country. There is insecurity everywhere. Extortion and hostage taking have become very common. The law and order situation may be the worst since the formation of country.

Nepalese people fought bravely with the autocratic king and he had to give up his power back to people. But our politicians didn't live up to our expectations. We thought they may have changed after some years under king's absolute rule, but these jackals were the same. They have started rampant corruption and fighting with each other in very minor issues again. Meanwhile, they are not serious at all for the election of constituent assembly. It was the sole mandate of the April movement.

Fir the first time in our history, we are very near of writing our own destiny, but our politicians may again deceive us! A strong vigil is necessary.

This is the background and against this background, many "crisis management experts" like Carter Center are seen all over Nepal and mainly in Kathmandu. Most of them are do-nothing-dollar salary-suits. Some of them may have real good intentions towards us and may help from their heart. That can ease the path to lasting peace and free and fair election for the constituent assembly. But their role is side role only. Unless our politicians become more mature, more pragmatic and less corrupt and show some strong political will, things will not move ahead.

This was the news in the online edition of Kantipur:

Former US president Carter in Nepal to support peace process

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, June 13 - Former U.S. president and co-founder of the Carter Center Jimmy Carter arrived in Kathmandu at 1:05pm Wednesday afternoon on a four-day visit.

Carter, a 2002 Nobel Laureate, will lead a delegation including former U.S. Ambassador A. Peter Burleigh, Carter Center Democracy Program Director Dr. David Carroll, and Carter Center Nepal Field Director Darren Nance.

Security at the airport was beefed up for his arrival. He didn’t speak to reporters.

Carter's four-day Nepal visit is aimed at encouraging Nepal's political leaders to continue on the path to peace as they prepare to hold constituent assembly elections later in 2007. 

The delegation is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, Maoist leaders, the Election Commission, national political party leaders, and representatives of civil society organizations and marginalized groups.

The delegation will also receive updates from the Carter Center's long-term election observers who have been deployed throughout Nepal since March.

According to Darren Nance, Carter neither represents the US nor is the Carter Centre funded by the US government.

The Center’s Nepal mission is funded by the governments of Britain, Denmark, Canada and Belgium.

Nance further informed that Carter’s interest in the Nepali conflict and peace process dates back to 2003 when the Centre began its presence in Nepal. After the successful April movement and the subsequent peace agreement between the government and the Maoists, the Center’s mission changed from conflict mitigation to election observation.

The Carter Center was formally invited by the government of Nepal to observe the Constituent Assembly election process and is the only international election observation organization currently deployed.The US-based Carter Center (CC), which is observing the Constituent Assembly elections process, last week lauded the strides made towards holding the polls, but said that it was still concerned about the multiple outstanding issues yet to be addressed if the elections are to be held in November-December.

The CC has helped to improve life for people in more than 65 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers in developing nations to increase crop production.

The Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

The Center's involvement in Nepal began in 2003. In August 2006, the Center was formally invited by the government of Nepal, several political parties including, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), and the Election Commission to observe the Constituent Assembly election process.

Carter, who served as U.S. president from 1977-81, is scheduled to leave on Saturday.

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