Protest erupts in Kathmandu as US officials visit for aid program

Thousands of political workers of different parties protested in Kathmandu, Nepal on Thursday when US officials visited the capital to hold discussions for an aid program under which Nepal is scheduled to receive $500 million in grants

Sep 09, 2021
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Protest erupts in Kathmandu

Thousands of political workers of different parties protested in Kathmandu, Nepal on Thursday when US officials visited the capital to hold discussions for an aid program under which Nepal is scheduled to receive $500 million in grants. Communist parties in the country are opposed to the aid program. 

The aid program, the Millennium Challenge Corporation Nepal Compact, has become a hotly debated political issue, as some political parties, as well as some sections of the society, are vehemently opposing the American program’s parliamentary ratification.

Over 60 people were arrested by police in the capital on Thursday. 

US officials visited the country to hold discussions with leaders of different political parties, including former prime minister KP Sharma Oli. 

The proposed grants will be used for transmission lines and road projects in the country. However, constitutionally, the government needs to ratify an existing act. Also, within the ruling coalition, there isn’t consensus on the issue. 

CPN-MC, the biggest largest political party in the ruling coalition, remains vehemently opposed to the program. So, the government is likely to require outside support to make changes in the laws. 

Earlier, the Ministry of Finance had sought clarification from the US regarding the program. US officials are likely to respond to those concerns during this visit. 

In a clarification prior to the meetings, the US Embassy in Nepal said, “the MCC grant program has no military component, will not impede on Nepal’s sovereignty, and Nepal’s constitution will prevail over the agreement. 

(SAM)