Kathmandu, February 22
The three-member task force that the central committee of the ruling Nepal Communist Party commissioned to study further and collect feedback on the controversial Millennium Challenge Corporation deal signed between Nepal and the United States in 2017 has submitted its report to the party leadership on Friday.
The panel’s coordinator Jhala Nath Khanal says the panel has recommended not endorsing the deal as it is now without amending some of the provisions. The three-year-old agreement is still awaiting its execution as it has to be endorsed from the Federal Parliament.
Though both chairmen of the ruling party–Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and executive chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal–want to endorse it as soon as possible, there are some strong dissidents in the party. Interestingly, the main opposition Nepali Congress has backed the prime minister on this issue as the deal was signed during the Congress-led government.
Khanal informs that his panel found that the two governments had signed around 15 auxiliary agreements besides the MCC deal, and they had not been public yet.
The former prime minister claims the panel forwarded its recommendation unanimously though one of the three members, Foreign Affairs Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, had been publicly advocating for the agreement’s early endorsement from Parliament.
It means the recommendation has pushed the Oli government into a moral dilemma as the US Ambassador to Nepal, Randy Berry, has recently commented that Nepal already moved past the time when it was possible to seek amendments to the agreement. On the other hand, withdrawing from the agreement could also prove costly.
Published on February 22nd, Saturday, 2020 5:27 AM