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US, EU Recall Ambassadors from Nepal


The State Department says the U.S. Ambassador in Katmandu, James Moriarity, is being recalled for at least a week of consultations on what the United States and other countries can do to support democracy in Nepal.

The action came in a coordinated diplomatic move with European Union governments to protest the February 1 state of emergency declaration by King Gyanendra that has been followed by the arrest of a number of opposition politicians and others, and media censorship.

At a news briefing, State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said the United States remains deeply troubled by developments in Nepal and said this view is widely shared among nations of the international community.

"The king needs to restore and protect civil and human rights," he said. "He needs to release those detained under the state of emergency, and move quickly toward the restoration of civil liberties and multi-party institutions. That is the point we are trying to make. We will consult with our ambassador, and others will consult with their ambassadors, about how best to achieve those goals, how we can support those goals.

King Gyandenra said he made the emergency declaration, his second in three years, because the government had been unable to restore peace and effective democracy in the Himalayan state, which has been beset by violence by Maoist insurgents.

The State Department has said the actions by the King would only undermine the struggle against the insurgency.

Spokesman Boucher said the United States calls on all those in Nepal committed to the country's future to engage in meaningful political discussions leading to national elections.

He said those among the Maoists who wish to be part of the country's future leadership should abandon armed struggle and join the political mainstream through dialogue and peaceful means.

The State Department has designated the Maoist rebel's political front, the Communist Party of Nepal, a terrorist organization and the United States provided Nepal with limited military aid.

But it has also been critical of the Katmandu government's poor human rights record.

The State Department's most recent report on human rights worldwide accused Nepalese authorities of numerous serious abuses, including cases of the disappearance of persons in custody, and instances of the use of torture to extract confessions.

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