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US welcomes Nepal ratifying USD 500 million grant aid

ANI | Updated: Feb 28, 2022 09:09 IST

Kathmandu [Nepal], February 28 (ANI): The United States has welcomed Nepal ratifying the USD 500 million grant, provided by the US Government foreign aid agency, which was cleared after a prolonged political tussle.
"The decision whether to ratify the USD 500 million-dollar Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Nepal Compact has always rested with the Government of Nepal as a sovereign democratic nation. Today's decision by Nepal's Parliament to follow through on its signed commitment and ratify the compact will mean more jobs for the Nepali people, a reliable supply of electricity, and lower transportation costs," the US embassy in Nepal said in a statement.
On Sunday, Nepal's House of Representatives ratified the MCC pact along with an "interpretative declaration".
The Nepalese Parliament on Sunday worked till late hours to adopt a 12-point declaration called "interpretative declaration", which includes the government's answers to questions raised by the Opposition parties and also members of the ruling coalition in the House.
"Agreement between Government of Nepal and the US aid agency along with the interpretative declaration has been adopted by the House of Representatives with voice vote as per the Constitution of Nepal's clause 279 and Rules of the Parliament 2075, Rule 230, and, thus, the proposal to ratify has been passed," House Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota announced.
A meeting of the ruling alliance which commenced earlier on Sunday at Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's residence had adopted the 12 points which clearly states that the parties will not consider MCC a part of US military strategy (IPS).
"One of the parties of the compact, Nepal will not be part of United States of America's Indo-Pacific Strategy or any strategic, military or security alliance which has been announced hereby," Janardan Sharma, Finance Minister of Himalayan nation read out the first statement of declaration despite protest from opposition CPN-UML.
Likewise, parties have also said that MCC Compact will not be above Nepal's Constitution and laws. Adding, the MCC Compact will be taken only as financial assistance, and the audit should be done by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of Nepal.
The declaration also said that they would even revert the decision on the basis of political consensus. Prior to that, the ruling parties held internal discussions on the issue.
Rift had risen high within the ruling alliance before the adoption of the declaration which nearly had brought alliance formed against the former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to an end.
The US Government's MCC signed the pact with the Government of Nepal in September 2017 aimed at maintaining road quality, increasing the availability and reliability of electricity, and facilitating cross-border electricity trade between Nepal and India--helping to spur investments, accelerate economic growth, and reduce poverty.
The pact was a subject of protest as a deep-rooted rumour claimed it to be a military pact. (ANI)