Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai today pledged to the world to conclude Nepal’s painful transition process on the basis of a broad-based consensus.
Addressing the 66th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, the PM assured the common forum of 193 countries that Nepal’s new constitution will guarantee fundamental democratic norms and values, according top priority to the oppressed and the marginalised lot.
“The highest measure of democracy is neither the extent of freedom, nor the extent of equality, but the highest measure of participation. We want to institutionalise a democracy that has room for all in general and the downtrodden lot in particular,” he said.
Bhattarai, the fourth communist prime minister of Nepal, is the third to address the UN, which Nepali communists used to describe as a machine that serves the western capitalist powers.
UCPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal was the first Nepali communist to address the UN General Assembly in 2008. The next year, his successor and senior CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal had addressed the global forum.
During the half-hour address, the PM touched upon a wide range of national, regional and international issues. He lauded the Maoist “People’s War” and the People’s Movement of 2006 for liberating Nepal from the feudalistic monarchy.
He said Nepal would like to be “a bridge” between two big neighbours — India and China. He also welcomed the Republic of South Sudan as a newest member of the UN.
Bhattarai urged the developed countries to increase assistance to Least Developed Countries (LDCs). He appealed to the UN to come forward with a far-reaching and comprehensive development package like a “new Marshall plan” for rebuilding and reconstruction of post-conflict countries.
“Let economic transformation of LDCs with a rights-based approach top the UN agenda,” he urged, arguing, “How can one justify the spending of $1.5 trillion on weapons every year while more than two billion people across the globe lack basic necessities such as food and medicine?”
The PM reiterated Nepal’s call for general and complete disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction in a timebound manner. Noting that Nepal has contributed to world peace by sending more than 80,000 security personnel in peacekeeping missions, the PM said, “The United Nations should not only be the custodian of its noble principles, it must deliver on its promises. Let it not be a mere umbrella of big powers.”Lekhnath Pandey, THT