Kathmandu, February 18
The United States Ambassador to Nepal, Randy Berry, has warned that Nepal could risk losing out on the grant support assured by the US government’s Millennium Challenge Compact if people here continued to link it to a military alliance.
Berry’s statement comes at a time when the fate of the USD 500 million grant agreement signed in 2017 has been pushed into limbo with Nepal failing to approve it in parliament.
Addressing student officers and faculty at the Nepal Army Command and Staff College in Kathmandu on Tuesday, the ambassador reiterated that the programme did not have anything to do with any military alliance with Nepal.
“When people claim that a development programme like the MCC commits Nepal to join a military alliance—despite the fact—the FACT—that it is against US law to use MCC funding for military activities and all of the MCC information is available publicly—it means Nepal risks losing out on a grant assistance programme and an economic opportunity that has so much potential that every Nepali party in power has tried to secure it for over a decade,” he said.
He clarified that the US government never wanted to establish a military base in Nepal nor form a military alliance.
The ambassador, however, said the American government would continue supporting the Nepal Army to strengthen its capacity.
“Our military engagement in Nepal is more than just partnering to deal with humanitarian disasters,” he said, “We would like to help in other ways as well, but will only do so at the invitation of your leadership.”