US Hails Progress Made In Drafting Nepal’s New Constitution

(RTTNews) – The United States on Thursday hailed the progress made by Nepal’s political leaders in drafting a new Constitution for the Himalayan nation, and urged all involved parties to move forward in the spirit of compromise.

“The United States commends Nepal’s political leaders on their recent progress toward drafting a new Constitution,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a statement on Thursday.

Acknowledging that the issues faced by concerned parties are complex and challenging, she noted that all parties have demonstrated a willingness to make the difficult compromises necessary to reconcile the concerns of Nepal’s many different communities and advance the interests of the nation as a whole.

Nuland urged all of Nepal’s political parties as well as interest groups “to move forward in this spirit of compromise, expressing their views peacefully and respecting the rights of others.”

She also expressed confidence that “the parties will continue to make progress and successfully complete work on a Constitution that safeguards the rights of all citizens and reaffirms the national commitment to creating a representative and democratic Nepal.”

The U.S. response came after major political parties in Nepal reached an agreement on Tuesday on the major contentious issues related to the future of state structure and the model of the new Constitution. Incidentally, the deadline set for drafting the Constitution expires on May 27.

Nepal’s fragile peace process began in 2005 after the Maoists ended their armed revolt and entered mainstream politics. Armed revolt was ended as per a peace deal reached between the government and the Maoists.Although a coalition government emerged from the April 2008 elections with the Maoists coming up as the single largest party in the 601-member Constituent Assembly, the country’s political parties failed to complete the peace process as well as reach an agreement on a new Constitution.

The Maoists, who lacked the required majority to form a government on their own, briefly led a coalition government after the elections, but their leader Prachanda resigned as Prime Minister less than a year later over a row with the then Army chief.

The current coalition government is headed by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai of the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). He is the country’s fourth Premier in as many years, as well as the second most senior leader of the former Communist rebels.

Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal, both from the Communist Party of Nepal – Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), had briefly served as Prime Ministers after the resignation of Prachanda in May 2009.

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