Nepal

Diplomats seek more security in Nepal after attack

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By Gopal Sharma

KATHMANDU, June 2 (Reuters) - Nepal must ensure security for foreign diplomats, and political activists should not obstruct their work, envoys from 15 nations said in a statement, after an attack on a car carrying the U.S. ambassador.

U.S. envoy James F. Moriarty and the UNHCR representative in Nepal, Abraham Abraham, were both unhurt in the incident in southeast Nepal last week when members of a Maoist young wing threw stones at a United Nations car they were travelling in.

"The diplomatic corps of Nepal is deeply concerned by an upsurge in recent weeks of security incidents that have threatened foreign diplomats or otherwise impeded their work in the country," said a statement issued by the U.S. embassy in Kathmandu on behalf of 15 embassies late on Friday.

"We condemn any and all attempts to harm, threaten, or interfere with foreign diplomats working in Nepal".

Foreign embassies including those from India, Japan, Germany, Britain, France and Australia also urged all political groups and activists to respect international norms regarding diplomats and reject violence or intimidation.

"We also remind the Government of Nepal of its role to ensure security and safety for diplomats," the statement said.

"Targeting or threatening diplomats on their countries' official business is unacceptable."

Nepal has about two dozen foreign embassies including the United Nations in Kathmandu.

The United States has been critical of the Maoists, who signed a peace deal with the government in November and joined an interim administration in April.

The former rebels, who have also taken seats in an interim parliament, still figure on a U.S. list of terrorist organisations.

Visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Barry F. Lowenkron urged the Maoists on Saturday to shun violence and honour commitments made in the peace accord.

"The message of the United States is very clear: One cannot have ballots and bullets in a democratic process," Lowenkron told reporters.

"Nothing justifies the use of violence as a legitimate political tool."

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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