Welcome to the United Nations

Media briefing following his official visit to Nepal, Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman

14 Jan 2015 - 16:00

I am concluding a two-day visit in Nepal. I came here at the request of the Secretary-General, who is personally committed to Nepal’s peace and prosperity, including the successful completion of the constitution-making process. The Secretary-General asked me to meet with Nepal’s leaders and to convey several messages:

The first message was to stress the strong and long-term commitment of the United Nations to Nepal’s development and democratic stability. Nepal has given so much to the causes of the United Nations, including through significant contributions to peacekeeping. The United Nations is equally committed to support Nepal in its political and socio-economic development.

The second message was to express our firm belief that only Nepalese can take the important political decisions that are needed for the full implementation of the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. It is not for the United Nations to decide on the substance of the constitution or the timeline for its adoption. Nepali political leaders have already shown great courage and vision in 2006 when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed. Much progress has been achieved. It is in that same spirit that we look to the Constituent Assembly members to demonstrate leadership and complete the constitution-making process in a timely and inclusive manner. It is important that the constitution contain no discriminatory provisions.

Our third message was to encourage political leaders to put aside narrow interests and exercise flexibility in reaching an agreement in the interest of all the Nepali people. The adoption of the Constitution is a historic event that will mark the culmination of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, laying the foundation for Nepal’s future political stability and economic development. This is not a routine piece of legislation; this is a foundational document that should enjoy the widest possible support. It is from that wide support of the Nepali people that the legitimacy of the constitution derives. That is why on behalf of the Secretary-General, I strongly encouraged the leaders to neither threaten a walk out nor force a vote, but rather to conclude the process through compromise, flexibility, and inclusivity.

Political leaders assured me that they have already made great progress, and that only a few issues remained outstanding. I was encouraged to hear that they were committed to finding a solution in time. But time, according to the calendar set by the leaders themselves, is running out. We believe it is essential for political leaders to seize the moment and carry out the mandate entrusted to them by the Nepali people. We appeal to all leaders to rise above their party ambitions and move forward in the national interest of the country – as they did in 2006. This is a historic opportunity for the future of Nepal.

Nepal has a great, yet unrealized, potential. The stability the constitution can provide is the key for prosperity. The adoption of the Constitution will be the culmination of Nepal’s historic peace process. I am convinced that Nepal can rise to its full potential as a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous country. The international community and the United Nations remain committed to supporting your efforts.