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Danish Development Minister Visits Nepal
Stresses Denmark's commitment to the peace process
Rajan Pokhrel (rajanp)     Print Article 
Published 2006-09-23 15:43 (KST)   
The Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Ulla T첩rn챈s, wrapped up her four-day visit to Nepal on Friday.

Before leaving Kathmandu, she met with Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala at the latter's official residence this morning and discussed the ongoing peace process and other bilateral issues.

She said: "The Nepalese people have clearly demonstrated that they want peace and democracy. People's expectations are very high. It is essential to keep the momentum (going) in the peace process and to ensure that political agreements are fully implemented," and added that Denmark is ready to give full support to the people of Nepal in their endeavors.

"The peace process must be decisively driven, controlled, and owned by the Nepalese people. It is the responsibility of all the parties to forge the peace essential for the further development of Nepal," T첩rn챈s said.

She added: "Denmark believes the peace process can benefit from support by external and impartial partners, fulfilling well-defined and functional roles," and strongly welcomed the request by the government and Maoists for U.N. assistance, expressing Denmark's willingness to support the U.N. in its tasks.

"Peace and development must go hand in hand. Denmark finds that it is important that the ceasefire be linked to opening up and securing civic space, allowing political, social, commercial, economic, and developmental activities to be strengthened," said T첩rn챈s.

"Progress in human rights is fundamental for the people's security. There must be a firm commitment by all parties to abide by the fundamental norms of human rights. Furthermore, there is an urgent need to start work to ensure the rule of law throughout the country."

T첩rn챈s also pointed to the need to ensure practical monitoring and dispute resolution procedures at the national and local level. "As peace negotiations progress at the national level, it is crucial that consultation, coordination, and dialog mechanisms be established at the local level to ensure that basic services can reach the Nepalese people. The demilitarization of the countryside is much more than demobilization or disarmament -- it must include reconciliation and building a future together."

She noted that the key challenge for Nepal in the coming process of framing a new constitution would be to ensure that both the process itself and the final result reflect and respect the diverse aspirations of the Nepalese people.

T첩rn챈s said that Denmark's firm stand in support of peace, democracy, human rights, and development would continue. "I sincerely hope that the process now under way will lead to lasting peace. This will provide an excellent background for further development of cooperation between Denmark and Nepal. If the process continues, the government of Denmark will provide new funds in support of the peace process as well as for the continuation of the rural energy program. Denmark is committed to continuing its comprehensive engagement in the education sector and in the areas of human rights and good governance."

The purpose of her visit was to express Denmark's support for the peace process and discuss how Denmark might best assist Nepal in the challenging period ahead.

Premier Koirala's aide, Dr. Suresh Chalise, said that her visit to Nepal was very important in gaining international support for the ongoing peace process. According to him, Premier Koirala was enlightened by the meeting after she expressed Denmark's commitment to supporting both the peace process and developmental activities in Nepal.

T첩rn챈s also held meetings with the speaker of the House of Representatives, other representatives from the government of Nepal, civil society, political parties, and the international community.

During her stay, T첩rn챈s also visited development activities supported by Denmark in the Tanahun district of western Nepal, in the areas of education, rural energy, good governance, human rights, and democracy.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Rajan Pokhrel

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