Nepali Foreign Affairs Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali had a telephonic conversation with the US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo on June 24, 2020.
The conversation comes in the wake of the Nepali Government’s repeated failure to endorse the much-talked US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement.
Even though both ruling and opposition parties had earlier agreed to endorse the MCC agreement through the parliament by June 30, Nepal looks to miss the deadline as the meeting of the House of Representatives (HoR) has been put off till July 1.
Earlier on June 24, the Speaker Agni Sapkota has unilaterally postponed the meeting of the HoR till July 1, causing uncertainty around the MCC agreement.
Moreover, the intra-party differences within the ruling NCP party on whether to endorse the MCC agreement has further led to the inordinate delay to expedite the MCC projects.
While PM KP Sharma Oli, Minister Gyawali and Defense Minister Ishwor Pokhrel are in favor of endorsing the MCC, the NCP Chairperson Dahal and other NCP Secretariat members are against it. Meanwhile, the main opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) and other parties favor the MCC agreement.
Although the June 30 deadline for the MCC endorsement can be renegotiated in view of the coronavirus pandemic, the intra-party differences have put the fate of MCC projects in limbo.
The Standing Committee (SC) meeting of the NCP scheduled on June 26 is set to decide the party’s stance on the MCC agreement.
Under the MCC compact, the US Government is set to invest USD 500 million to implement the Electricity Transmission Project (ETP) and the Road Maintenance Project (RMP) in Nepal.
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