News

    US Hopes for New Nepal Election Date Soon, Expresses Caution Toward Maoists

    The U.S. ambassador to Nepal understands the need for a delay in elections in the Himalayan kingdom. In the meantime, he says, the United States will conditionally cooperate with government ministries now being run by Maoists - who had been labeled terrorists by the U.S. VOA's Steve Herman reports from Kathmandu.

    U.S. ambassador James Moriarty says Nepal's government "ran out of time" to hold free and fair elections on June 20. No new date has been set for polling to select a constituent assembly that is to decide the fate of the country's unpopular monarchy.

    Moriarty, in a VOA interview on Tuesday, expressed his desire to see the eight parties in the interim government formed this month quickly set a new election date.

    In the meantime the United States and other foreign governments are dealing with a Nepalese government in which Maoists control several ministries. The United States has designated the Maoists as a terrorist group.

    Ambassador Moriarty says a pragmatic decision has been made to not immediately sever ties with those ministries.

    "We have decided we will not punish the people of Nepal for the sins of the Maoists," he said. "We'll look at the ministries that are controlled by the Maoists, see what we're doing with those ministries, see whether we need to change the way we work with those ministries in order that Maoist ministers don't get the credit for what we end up doing with those ministries."

    Nepal is one of the world's poorest countries, sandwiched between China and India. It maintains good relations with both countries, as well as the United States.

    A Maoist victory in an election certified as free and fair would put the United States in a further quandary. The ambassador tells VOA News that Washington would have to accept any outcome of such an election.

    "If they achieve that through a free and fair election, we will welcome it if that's really the will of the people of Nepal," he said. "I tend to have my doubts that's really the case. You don't win peoples' hearts and minds by brutalizing them and that's been the favorite Maoist tool."

    The ambassador, a former senior official of the U.S. National Security Council, says the Maoists have what he calls a frightening agenda of collectivization, mass re-education and nationalization of key industries that would be a "recipe for disaster." Such programs, if implemented, he says, would bring into question whether the United States "in good conscience" could continue to support Nepal.

    Annual support to Nepal through the U.S. Agency for International Development is about $40 million.

    Despite recent statements by Maoist leaders to work for the abolition of the monarchy and other goals through the democratic process, Moriarty says they continue to "use violence on a fairly massive scale every day" in Nepal to shake down merchants and intimidate political opponents.

    The Maoists waged a decade-long violent campaign to topple the monarchy. The violence left 14,000 people dead. In a landmark peace deal last year the Maoists agreed to enter the political process and have sent their militias and arms into camps under United Nations supervision.


    Steve Herman

    A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora