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US Army top brass to discuss defence with Nepal

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Sept 13, IRNA
Commander of the US Army, Pacific, Lt General John Brown arrives in Nepal on Tuesday to assess the situation in the Himalayan Kingdom and discuss matters relating to defence with the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA), reports 'The Pioneer'.

This is the first visit to Nepal by a top US military official since February 1, when King Gyanendra seized absolute authority in a bloodless coup, resulting in Washington suspending the supply of lethal military equipment to the RNA.

During his two-day visit, Brown will meet top officials of the RNA and the government as well as call at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The spokesperson of the US Embassy, New Delhi said the general would convey Washington's view that Nepal needed reconciliation and an immediate return to democracy.

While Nepal's major opposition parties have agreed to press for a republic and begin talks directly with the Maoist insurgents, the US feels the King is still undoubtedly one of the major players in Nepali politics.

The US has been urging reconciliation between Gyanendra and the political parties so that they can address the communist rebellion unitedly. The US is also worried about the RNA's human rights accord.

US Ambassador to Nepal James Francis Moriarty has said that for suspended supplies of weapons to resume, the army needs to improve its human rights record and the king needs to restore multiparty democracy and media freedom.

Brown, who is flying in from Hawaii where the Pacific wing of the US Army is headquartered, will proceed to Bangladesh Wednesday.


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