Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09KATHMANDU883
2009-09-23 12:34:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Kathmandu
Cable title:  

NEPAL: DEFENSE MINISTER ON PEACE PROCESS, U.S.

Tags:  PGOV PHUM KDEM NP 
pdf how-to read a cable
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KATHMANDU 000883 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/17/2019
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM NP
SUBJECT: NEPAL: DEFENSE MINISTER ON PEACE PROCESS, U.S.
MILITARY ASSISTANCE

Classified By: Charge d' Affaires, a.i., Jeffrey A. Moon. Reasons 1.4 (
b/d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KATHMANDU 000883

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/17/2019
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM NP
SUBJECT: NEPAL: DEFENSE MINISTER ON PEACE PROCESS, U.S.
MILITARY ASSISTANCE

Classified By: Charge d' Affaires, a.i., Jeffrey A. Moon. Reasons 1.4 (
b/d).


1. (C) Summary: Defense Minister Bidya Bhandari told visiting
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Robert Scher that Nepal
was "at a very important juncture in the peace process." She
supports limited integration of Maoist combatants into the
Nepal Army based on the peace agreements so long as the
combatants are fully qualified and are willing to give up
political activities. Bhandari appreciated U.S. training
assistance and requested that military assistance resume as
soon as possible. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
Scher encouraged progress on the peace process, including
integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants and
accountability for human rights abuses. He affirmed U.S.
support for Nepal would continue. End Summary.

Peace Process
--------------

2. (C) During their September 16 meeting, Defense Minister
Bhandari told Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD)
Scher that "the peace process can only be brought to a
logical conclusion through dialogue, and the Ministry of
Defense is very much committed to such a dialogue." The
government was negotiating in good faith with the Maoists to
resolve the integration and rehabilitation issue as soon as
possible. She said the government supported a limited
integration of Maoist combatants into the Nepal Army, but
insisted on "standard norms for filling positions, as any
bureaucracy would". These requirements cannot be
compromised. Maoist combatants would have to decide whether
to "go ahead with their ideology" or "become apolitical and
join the military." If a Maoist decided to "remain
political," Bhandari said the government was willing to
provide former combatants with pensions and retraining
programs to ease their transition back into society. She
cited that India refused to integrate elements of the Indian
National Army into its forces after independence. Bhandari
suggested the Maoists were not serious about integration, and
their true intention was to gain "supremacy over the
military."


3. (C) The government was concerned about potential
ramifications of integration on the country's national
security, Bhandari claimed. Nepal faced "many threats from
various armed groups, some even challenging the country's
sovereignty." Unless the peace process takes into account
the threat from these groups, larger problems might appear
around the bend, she added. She did not identify the discuss
specific threats.

HUMAN RIGHTS
--------------

4. (C) Human rights incidents were being carefully
scrutinized by the ministry, Bhandari reported. She added
the government was also looking at incidents by "other
fighters," not only the Nepal Army. DASD Scher said the U.S.
supports investigating human rights incidents and that
national leaders were ultimately responsible for determining
how far back to investigate possible incidents. He added
improving and maintaining current human rights practices was
the most important priority.

U.S. MILITARY ASSISTANCE
--------------

5. (C) Bhandari thanked DASD Scher for past U.S. training
and equipment support, stating that Nepal's effectiveness as
a contributor of United Nations peacekeeping troops was
directly related to U.S. assistance. She said the Nepal
military is finding it difficult to operate since the United
States stopped providing lethal equipment to Nepal. (Note:
Equipment assistance was halted in 2005. End Note.) She
asked the United States to resume the delivery of equipment
to the Nepal Army as soon as possible. DASD Scher said the
U.S. could possibly provide additional, non-lethal assistance
for Nepal's peacekeeping operations and disaster response

KATHMANDU 00000883 002.3 OF 002


efforts.


6. (C) DASD Scher encouraged the Defense Minister to make
progress on the peace process, and acknowledged that
integration and rehabilitation of former Maoist combatants
was a key component. He agreed that standards were a
necessary aspect of integration, and said that standards had
both a technical and political component. He suggested Nepal
develop a process for developing consensual standards.


7. (C) Comment: Peace agreements include undefined
references to "standard norms," but Bhandari's reference to
recruitment standards means that the Nepal Army will require
new recruits to meet levels of educational and training that
most Maoists cannot satisfy. This approach would limit the
number of Maoist combatants that could be integrated and
perhaps force them to enter as individuals rather than combat
units. Still, the Ministry seems to have implicitly
acknowledged that integration will occur. The request for
renewed assistance is a message heard regularly from all
levels of the military establishment. End Comment.
MOON