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Visiting US Under Secretary Nuland discusses ‘next step in finalizing MCC projects’

KATHMANDU: The visiting US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland wrapped up her two-day visit to Nepal on Monday after holding high-level political meetings.

The visit—the first highest level from the US—after the formation of the new government following the November 20 election is widely seen as an attempt of the US government to cultivate relations with the new government and lay foundation for the effective implementation of various US-funded projects including the projects under Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact Agreement in Nepal.

Speaking to media persons before wrapping her visit to Nepal, Under Secretary Nuland said she talked to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and other Nepali political leaders about the next step in finalizing the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) projects in the field of clean energy. Nepal’s parliament in February last year ratified the MCC compact after years of delay, but the implementation of the cross-border transmission line and road projects being funded under the US grant agreement has not moved forward smoothly due to land acquisition and other issues.

Under Secretary Nuland said that her meeting with the Nepali political leaders focused on other issues including transitional justice, investment-friendly environment and fighting corruption. “We talked about the plan of the government to submit the legislation in the parliament to finalize the transitional justice process and ways the US might be able to support its implementation thereafter. We talked about how to strengthen the climate for investment and international business here. We also talked about the need to continue fighting corruption,” she told media persons.

Nuland, who arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday, held separate meetings with Prime Minister Dahal, Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba, CPN-UML Chairman K P Sharma Oli and Foreign Minister Bimala Rai Paudyal before leaving for New Delhi on Monday evening.

During her meeting with Prime Minister Dahal, Nuland congratulated him and his coalition on a successful election.  “The US looks forward to deepening over 75 years of the US-Nepal ties to promote our shared interests in inclusive development, democracy, and human rights, with the millennium challenge to support economic growth,” she said.

Nuland held a separate meeting with NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba to discuss ways to strengthen Nepal’s democracy, fight corruption and promote human rights and economic growth via Summit for democracy and Millennium Challenge.

“Open, diverse, and inclusive governments make democracies stronger. [I] Discussed with Nepal’s main opposition leader Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba ways to strengthen Nepal’s democracy, fight corruption, and promote human rights and economic growth via Summit for democracy and Millennium Challenge,” she tweeted after her meeting with Deuba.

During her meeting with UML Chairman Oli, Nuland said she held discussion on the efforts to build on Nepal-US historical ties, bolster democratic resilience, and strengthen Nepal’s economy through partnerships with innovative foreign assistance agencies of the US government. Her meeting with Foreign Minister Paudyal focused on discussing urgent global issues and bilateral ties between Nepal and the US.


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