Washington has conveyed to Nepal’s top leadership including those belonging to the ruling alliance and the main opposition party that if Nepal would not ratify the $ 500 million grant assistance under the MCC compact, the US would understand that it was because of China’s interest.
Talking separately to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, CPN-Maoist Centre chief Pushpakamal Dahal “Prachanda” and main opposition CPN-UML chairman K.P. Sharma Oli on telephone on Thursday US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu said, “if Nepali political leadership failed to endorse the MCC compact grant within the stipulated deadline of February 28, the US would be forced to review its ties with Nepal,” according to highly placed sources with the ruling Nepali Congress party.
The US Asst. Secretary of State has warned that “it would consider China’s interest behind Nepal’s the failure to ratify the compact.”
Nepal and the US government had signed the $ 500 million US grant assistance which is meant for building Nepal’s infrastructure such as electric transmission lines and improvement of national highways.
Although ruling Nepali Congress has decided to endorse the MCC through Parliament, other ruling alliance members including CPN-Maoist Centre led by Prachanda and CPN-Unified Socialist led by Madhav Kumar Nepal have expressed their reservation to endorse the US grant assistance. Both Prachanda and Nepal have asked some more time to decide the matter saying that they are not in a position to endorse the compact without amendment to some of its clause. Main opposition CPN-UML says that it is waiting for the ruling alliance to make its move before the party could make its decision public.
Nepali Congress spokesperson Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat has expressed the view that the Millennium Challenge Compact should be endorsed from the Parliament as it is in the interest of the country. “The US grant assistance was prepared in line with the demands of developing countries like Nepal.”
Mahat claimed that the MCC is not a part of the Indo-pacific strategy of the US government or any type of military related linked and that it would be operated under Nepal’s law as it has been offered as per the wishes of the Nepali people.
Nepal’s leftist political parties have been voicing against the pact, saying that it was not in national interest and it was meant for countering Northern neighbour China. There are reports that China is fanning misleading rumours against the MCC pact to defame its rival USA.
If the US reviews its ties with Nepal following Nepal’s failure to endorse the MCC pact, it would adversely affect Nepal’s economic sector.
“US has been the largest bilateral donors of Nepal for decades if it decides to review ties with Nepal, its direct impact will be in our economic sector,” points out The Kathmandu Post quoting Finance Ministry sources. “Nepal could lose bilateral and multilateral aid as well as foreign direct investment if it fails to ratify MCC,” the daily states.