|06KATHMANDU1431||2006-06-05 12:00:00||SECRET//NOFORN||Embassy Kathmandu|
1. (C) During a June 5 meeting with Prime Minister Koirala,
Ambassador Moriarty and A/DCM Schwartz raised the USG
proposal to resettle Tibetan refugees in the United States.
The Ambassador told the Prime Minister that the U.S. planned
to offer 5000 Tibetan refugees asylum in the United States.
The Ambassador acknowledged that the issue was very sensitive
for Nepal because it engaged one of China,s red lines, but
assured the Prime Minister that the program would be low
profile -- and that only refugees who had arrived in Nepal a
number of years ago would be considered for the program so as
not to create a magnet for additional refugees to come to
Nepal. The Ambassador stressed the importance of this
resettlement program to the USG.
Chinese Struck First
2. (C) The Prime Minister was aware of the program. He
indicated that he had received a visit from the Chinese
Ambassador, asking that the Government of Nepal (GoN) not
permit this program to go forward. Although he was
personally willing to let this group of refugees -- indeed,
all refugees -- resettle in the U.S. and elsewhere, he asked
the U.S. to defer the program for a while.
"Give us Time"
3. (C) When warned by the Ambassador that the U.S. would
continue to seek GoN approval for this program, the Prime
Minister first asked that the Ambassador work with his
Chinese counterpart to reassure him that the program was
based solely on humanitarian grounds. However, he said,
because Nepal was in a "fragile situation" with "democracy
not yet consolidated," he preferred "not to disturb things"
by getting into matters of critical concern to key neighbors
who could upset the country,s peace process.
4. (S/NF) The Mission will continue to press the GoN on this
matter. The GoN is indeed in a "fragile situation" but in
the near future we will again seek permission to begin the
resettlement program. As reported reftel, we need to
consider the timing of going public with our proposal and
issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) given possible Chinese
contacts with Maoist leader Prachanda. We do not want China
to use the peace process as a lever to affect the GON on the
Tibetan refugee issue.