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Nepal - US Relations

The United States established official relations with Nepal in 1947 and opened its Kathmandu Embassy in 1959. Relations between the two countries have always been friendly. U.S. policy objectives toward Nepal center on helping Nepal build a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic society.

Since 1951, the United States has provided more than $1.2 billion in bilateral development assistance to Nepal. In recent years, annual bilateral U.S. assistance through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of State has averaged $54 million. U.S. foreign assistance programs support Nepal's peace process and transition to democracy, and promote long-term development through agriculture, health, family planning, environmental protection, and vocational education programs in Nepal. The United States also contributes to international institutions and private voluntary organizations working in Nepal. The Peace Corps temporarily suspended its operations in Nepal in 2004 due to increasing security concerns, and officially terminated its Nepal program in 2006.

Since the King's seizure of power in February 2005, the US placed a hold on lethal assistance to Nepal, as have India and the European Union. The US worked very closely with India, the U.K., the EU and others to keep pressure on the King. Now Japan and China have also become more engaged on Nepal policy, and have called for the King to reconcile with the parties. The FY 06 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act stipulates that Foreign Military Financing (FMF) would only be made available to Nepal if the Secretary of State certifies that the government of Nepal had restored civil liberties, is protecting human rights, and has demonstrated, through dialogue with Nepal's political parties, a commitment to a clear timetable to restore multi-party democratic government consistent with the 1990 Nepalese constitution.

US objectives in Nepal were the restoration of multi-party democracy and the prevention of a Maoist takeover. Reconciliation between the King and the political parties, and a return to democracy was sen as the only path toward an effective counter-insurgency strategy as well as restoration of security and human rights. The US was of the view that a Maoist takeover would almost certainly lead to instability in a region of great importance to the United States.

The period 2015/16 could be marked as an important year in Nepal-United States of America relations. The United States continued its moral and political support and solidarity to the political and constitution-writing process in Nepal and welcomed the promulgation of the new constitution. US response to the earthquake was instant, spontaneous and substantive. In terms of development cooperation, US remained a major development partner during the reporting period. In terms of trade also, US continued to be a major export destination for Nepal. The passage of Trade 'Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, 2015' further boosted the prospect of increased export to the US. The US increased its development cooperation in Nepal through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact initiative and is currently engaged with the Government of Nepal to identify appropriate projects in infrastructure and energy sector under the initiative. The US Government continued to offer a large number of trainings, short-term study courses, and exchange of study tours to the officials and professionals of the Government of Nepal, especially, the military and police personnel.

Within hours of the 2015 earthquake, a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) was deployed to coordinate the U.S. governments response efforts, conduct disaster assessments, as well as provide search and rescue capabilities. Its immediate humanitarian response included search and rescue deployments, emergency shelter, drinking water, food aid, and support to protect survivors. The long-term US investment in disaster risk reduction activities in Nepal helped to streamline the US efforts in this area. The Government of the United States of America provided approximately US$ 130 million for relief and recovery after the earthquake in Nepal. In course of the rescue operations conducted by the US Marines on 12 May 2015, six U.S. Marines, two Nepalese Army soldiers, and five Nepali civilians lost their lives when their UH-1Y Huey helicopter crashed in the earthquake stricken areas of Dolakha district.

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