Kathmandu, February 21: In a pointed yet restrained statement to the comments and counter comments made recently by China and the US on MCC grant agreement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Sunday clarified hat any decision to accept development assistance is taken by Nepal on the basis of its national interests and priority.
"The sovereign parliament of Nepal alone decides what development assistance is needed in the best interest of Nepal and Nepali people. We sincerely hope for continued goodwill of our friends," the MoFA Spokesperson said in the statement issued in response to the media queries about the views appeared in various media on the MCC assistance to Nepal.
The MoFA further said that Nepal has always been pursuing an independent, balanced and non-aligned foreign policy. "In pursuant to this policy, as a sovereign country, Nepal has accepted and utilized development assistance as per her national requirement and priority," the spokesperson said.
"Development assistance has played an important role in the building of infrastructures and development in Nepal. The Government of Nepal remains grateful to our neighbours and those friends with whom Nepal has traditionally been enjoying strong partnership and cooperation as well as regional and multilateral development partners, including the United Nations for their continued support to the socio-economic development of Nepal," the spokesperson further said.
The remarks of MoFA Spokesperson comes in the wake of China and US making statement and counter statement on MCC grant agreement in Nepal. This has raised concerns in Nepal that Kathamandu could fall into the geopolitical rivalry between two major powers, namely China and the US, over the MC grant agreement.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Friday alleged that the US was employing 'coercive diplomacy" against Nepal on MCC grant agreement that awaits parliamentary ratification for its implementation.
"China welcomes the international community to cooperate with Nepal, contribute to Nepal's economic development and livelihood improvement, but this should be done based on Nepalese people's willingness without political conditions," the Chinese government's mouthpiece, Global Times, news report quoted Wang as saying.
Wang was referring to the recent telephone conversation the US Assistant Secretary Donald Lu for South and Central Asia had with Nepal's top leaders. Although a section of media reports suggested that Lu had threatened that Washington would 'review its ties with Nepal' in the event of its failure to ratify the MCC pact by February 28, US Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry has already refuted the news reports.
Refuting the allegation made by China, the US Embassy in Kathmandu on Saturday reiterated whether to accept or reject the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant agreement is the sovereign decision of Nepal.
The US Embassy in a statement said that the $500 million MCC grant is a gift from the American people and a partnership between the two nations that will bring jobs and infrastructure to Nepal and improve the lives of Nepalis. "This project was requested by the Nepali government and the Nepali people and designed to transparently reduce poverty and grow the economy of Nepal," said the embassy's statement.
The statement further said the year 2022 marks the 75th year of ties between Nepal and the United States. "During these 75 years, Nepal has seen monumental changes. We have stood with Nepal through these changes and supported the country with development aid, disaster response and preparedness assistance, health and education programs, and more. Whether Nepali leaders ratify MCC is a decision for Nepal to make, as a sovereign democratic nation, and Nepal's decision alone," added the statement.