08/29/2006, 00.00
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Nepal: US aid delivery on track as Maoists disowned

by Prakash Dubey

Washington has confirmed a donation of 45 million dollars to support the economic and health renewal of Nepal, worn down by guerrilla warfare. The Maoists have quit dialogue with the government, accusing it of collaborationism with a foreign power.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – The United States yesterday signed an accord with the ad interim government of Nepal for the dispatch of 45 million dollars worth of aid throughout 2006 to boost the peace process and improve the conditions of the people, worn down by years of guerrilla warfare. The agreement drew a disdainful reaction from the Maoist rebels, who said they "do not want to bow to a new monarchy".

Yesterday's signing followed international tension provoked by Kathmandu's announcement in early August that it planned to accept rebel representatives on the new government. Washington responded by threatening a total suspension of aid. James F. Moriarty, US envoy in Nepal recently affirmed that his government held the Maoists to be "a faction composed of terrorists", saying "Washington cannot in any way tolerate this presence in a legal government".

The delivery of aid was guaranteed thanks to a decision taken by the Prime Minister, Girja Prasad Koirala, who described the guerrillas as a "rebel, not political, force" and announced their participation in the national political process "only in the event of total disarmament and renunciation of the ideology of violence."

Consequently, the United States announced the first allotment of 32.8 million dollars to Nepal, "to help achieve development goals for the wellbeing of the people". Of these, 10 million dollars will go to "tide over the immediate impact of the conflict and facilitate the ongoing peace process". Around six million dollars will be used to "strengthen governance and programmes to protect human rights". Another six million are earmarked for health development projects while the remaining nine will be invested in socio-family planning.

The agreement was signed yesterday by the Nepalese Finance Ministry joint secretary, Dr Madhav Prasad Ghimire, and the US Envoy Moriarty. The first dispatch will not deliver all the American aid allocated; another 12 million dollars should be sent before the end of 2006.

Some analysts fear Washington's help. A political observer, Badri Choudhary, said the growing closeness between the US and Nepal would only serve to increase the Maoists' skepticism and provoke new internal clashes.

Prachanda, the guerrilla leader, has accused the prime minister several times of "subjecting to the American dictatorship" and said "the Maoists will not be accomplices in this plan that does not make for a true domestic democracy but only seeks to restore the monarchy, albeit under another name."

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