The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to reduce the planned development assistance to Nepal by NOK 15 million in 2006. This constitutes 10 per cent of Norway's planned development assistance to Nepal.
The reason for the reduction is the serious setbacks suffered by the multiparty democracy and constitutional monarchy since King Gyanendra seized power in February this year. Human rights and the prospects of reaching a peaceful solution to the protracted violent conflict in the country have also been jeopardised.
"For these reasons, and in line with like-minded countries, we have decided to reduce our development assistance, among other things by terminating the agreement on financial support for a major water supply project," said State Secretary Leiv Lunde. "Furthermore, no new bilateral agreements will be concluded between Norway and Nepal."
From now on Norway's development co-operation will to a greater extent focus on efforts to promote democracy and human rights. This will for example mean more support for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) mission in Nepal.
"We would like to underline that if concrete efforts are made to restore multiparty democracy, improve the human rights situation and initiate a dialogue for peace, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will reassess the level of development assistance," said Mr Lunde.