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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07KATHMANDU990 2007-05-18 05:06:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kathmandu
Cable title:  

NEPAL: CARTER CENTER WORRIED ABOUT THE TERAI

Tags:   PREL PGOV PTER KDEM NP 
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SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/18/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER KDEM NP
SUBJECT: NEPAL: CARTER CENTER WORRIED ABOUT THE TERAI

Classified By: Ambassador James F. Moriarty. Reasons 1.4 (b/d).

Summary
-------



1. (C) On May 7, Peter Burleigh, Carter Center consultant,
described the situation in the Terai as one of fundamental
insecurity. Burleigh told the Charge d'Affaires that the
Government of Nepal (GON) needed to set a firm date for the
Constituent Assembly (CA) election and expressed concern over
the existing political vacuum in the countryside. Carter
Center Field Director Darren Nance informed Emboffs May 14
that top Maoist leaders had told Burleigh they were facing
internal party strife. Nance stated that Maoist Chief
Prachanda and his deputy Baburam Bhattarai had cited ongoing
problems in the cantonments and the behavior of the Young
Communist League (YCL) as the core issues of contention. The
Maoist officials had conceded that the YCL was a problem that
needed to be addressed. Nance also said that the Maoists
intended to continue pressing for a republic, but were
willing to accept a constitutional amendment that allowed for
the King's dismissal on a two-thirds vote of the Interim
Parliament. Nance also noted that several political and
civic leaders had mentioned to Burleigh the possibility of an
election date in April or May 2008.

Carter Center Assesses Election Climate in the Terai


--------------------------



--------------------------





2. (C) From May 3 to 10, a delegation from the Carter Center
visited Nepal to assess the political climate and the outlook
for the Constituent Assembly (CA) election. On May 7, former
Ambassador Peter Burleigh and David Pottie, the Carter
Center's Associate Director, reported to the the Acting
Deputy Chief of Mission, who then was serving as the Charge
d'Affaires, on their three-day visit to the Terai (Nepal's
southern borderland with India). In Birgunj (Parsa
District), Kalaiya (Bara District) and Gaur (Rautahat
District and the site of a massacre of Maoists by Madhesis in
March) on May 4-6, the team had observed a complete lack of
authority, routine shootings and fundamental insecurity.
Burleigh stated that "everybody is scared." The Carter
Center representatives described what they perceived to be a
complete disconnect between the national level and the
district level, with the political parties no longer viewed
as valid political structures in the Terai.

Announcement of New Election Date Obligatory


--------------------------





3. (C) Burleigh noted that many of the issues arising in the
current political vacuum could be minimized with the
announcement of a new CA election date. The Carter Center
Senior Consultant emphasized that the Government of Nepal
(GON) needed to set a date it could keep; false promises
would exacerbate the situation. Burleigh also expressed his
disappointment in learning that the GON was still discussing
which election model to use. He had hoped that the model
would have already been agreed upon by now so that the
necessary legislation could be passed. The Carter Center
representatives reported that all of the political parties
continue to speak about a pro-royalist "American conspiracy"
to prevent the elections and keep the Terai unstable.
Regarding the situation in the cantonments, Burleigh told the
then Charge d'Affaires that it was widely believed that once
verification began the UN would declare fifty percent of the
"combatants" in the camps under-aged or newly recruited.

Maoists Admit Internal Discord to Carter Center


--------------------------

--



4. (C) On May 14, the Carter Center's Field Director Darren
Nance told Emboffs that Maoist chief Pushpa Dahal (a.k.a.
Prachanda) and his deputy Dr. Baburam Bhattarai had admitted
the Maoists were facing internal party discord. Dahal and
Bhattarai had cited continuing problems in the cantonments
and the behavior of the Young Communist League (YCL) as the
core issues of contention. The Field Director reported that
the Maoist senior leaders had told the delegation that the
"former combatants" in the camps were unhappy and frustrated

KATHMANDU 00000990 002 OF 002


with the unhealthy conditions in the camps and the lack of
political progress. The Maoists had also conceded that the
YCL was a problem that had to be addressed. The YCL was
supposed to be demonstrating the party's commitment to
delivering services to the public and its continuing use of
violence was counter-productive, they admitted.

Maoists on the King, a Republic and an Election Date


--------------------------



--------------------------





5. (C) Nance told Emboffs that the Maoist leaders had told
the Carter Center that they would continue to push for the
removal of the King and declaration of a republic. However,
they had indicated they would accept a constitutional
amendment that allowed for the King's dismissal on a vote of
two-thirds of the Interim Parliament should the King attempt
to disrupt the CA election process. Nance said that Dahal
and Bhattarai had talked about an election date in November,
but had also mentioned the possibility of an election in
April or May 2008. (Nance noted that other political and
civil leaders had also mentioned April or May 2008 to
Burleigh.) The Field Director said that the Maoists were
upset with the Madhesis stealing their slogans, thought they
were getting outmaneuvered in the Parliament, and remained
upset with the U.S. Government's refusal to recognize their
"efforts" to move toward democracy. Nance also mentioned
that the Maoist leaders had stated that they intended to hold
a top-level secretariat meeting sometime during the week of
May 14 to continue the discussions that had begun at the
party's Central Committee meeting in April.

Comment


--------------------------





6. (C) The Carter Center delegation's description of the
situation in the Terai is disturbing but not suprising. We
expect the security situation there will continue to
deteriorate until the existing political vacuum is addressed.
An announcement by the Government of Nepal of a new election
date and the launch of a meaningful dialogue with the
Madhesis would likely improve the situation dramatically.
Although there may be discussion of delaying the election
until April or May 2008, there also seems to be a political
consensus that a date roughly twelve months from now would be
unacceptable to the public and feed its growing distrust of
the political parties and the GON. We expect that as soon as
a constitutional amendment is adopted to allow for the
abolition of the Monarchy, the Maoists would accuse the King
of interference and push for a vote on his dismissal.
Meanwhile, Dahal and Bhattarai griping about the YCL strikes
us as the height of absurdity. While there is no doubt
tension within the Maoist movement, we are extremely dubious
of claims that Dahal has no control over the YCL.
MORIARTY