UML refuses to be part of foreign policy review panel

  • recalibrating int’l relations
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 26, 2017-

The main opposition, CPN-UML, has refused to become part of the proposed Foreign Policy Review Panel, claiming that the party cannot agree with the foreign policy espoused by the incumbent government, led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal of CPN (Maoist Centre).  

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), which has already prepared the panel’s terms of reference, has hit a brick wall with the UML leadership deciding that the party would have none of it by refusing to recommend its representatives to the panel.

The party leadership reckons that there is no need of a new foreign policy at the moment, said UML Secretary Krishna Gopal Shrestha, who, on behalf of the party, sent a letter to the MoFA recently, expressing inability to join the panel.

The MoFA had set out with a plan of including representatives from all major political parties in the panel to develop a new foreign policy of the country in the changed domestic, regional and global contexts. With the reservation from the UML, the MoFA faces a serious quandary about the panel’s formation.

A senior official at the ministry told the Post that they had no idea how things would pan out. 

“We don’t know what’s going on at the top political level,” the official said.

He added that other political parties have already forwarded the names of the nominees for the panel.

Oli ‘overrode’ Nepal’s nominees

After Foreign Ministry Prakash Sharan Mahat reached out to the senior UML leaders to garner the party’s support to form the panel, Madhav Kumar Nepal had suggested the names of Dipak Prakash Bhatta and Bishnu Rijal. But the names suggested by the senior UML leader was rendered null when the party chairman, KP Sharma Oli, stepped in.

It was Oli who directed the party secretary, Shrestha, to send a letter to the MoFA, explaining UML’s official position. 

“An individual taking initiative does not count. The party’s officially line is that it is not going to be part of such panel. The foreign policy priority of this government and the UML is totally opposite,” said Shrestha.

This is not the first attempt of the government at recalibrating the country’s foreign policy. 

In 2006, after the Maoist rebels joined the mainstream politics, the then government had formed its own foreign policy review panel. 

An official at the MoFA said the report submitted by the panel formed at the time did not work as it was not relevant to the “fast changing global and regional contexts”. 

This time, however, the official said, the government was planning to develop a new foreign policy acceptable to all and that which could be easily executed

Published: 26-01-2017 09:07

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