(From left to right) Visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu, Maoist Center Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' and US Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry at Singha Durbar, in Kathmandu, Friday.
KATHMANDU: Visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu has paid a courtesy call on CPN-Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ in Singha Durbar Friday.
During the meeting, US Assistant Secretary of State Lu urged Prachanda to reach an early decision on the US grant assistance Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and reminded him of the timeline of the agreement, said Prachanda’s personal secretary Ramesh Malla.
In response, the Maoist chair drew attention of the visiting official towards some of the provisions deemed controversial in the country.
“We are in favor of receiving the grant: however, we found that the original text had been changed later,” Malla quoted Prachanda as saying. “Because of it, the MCC grant has become a matter of controversy in Nepal and we too have some questions concerning the grant agreement.”
Prachanda said that efforts were being made to reach a common understanding on MCC. “We are trying to reach a consensus on MCC, we have been discussing,” he told the US Assistant Secretary Lu.
“Political parties may have to put their opinion and vote on MCC in the parliament. It could be debated whether MCC ought to be approved or not.”
According to Maoist chair’s personal secretary Malla, Prachanda said that the Maoist Center would strive to reach develop a consensus with all parties on the issue of MCC. “Chair Prachanda was of the view that it would be easier to reach a consensus if the initial document could be adopted and implemented,” Malla said.
The US side expressed that the matter should be decided at the earliest. In response, Prachanda told decision would be taken by forging a national consensus, according to Malla.
Earlier, US Assistant Secretary Lu met the Chairman of the main opposition CPN-UML, KP Oli, and sought his party’s stance on MCC. Chair Oli told the visiting official that since his party was not in the government, he could not provide a clear position on MCC, and that the Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government had not consulted with the main opposition.