Democracy promotion strategy for Nepal, Carrots, Sticks Package to King

Classified By: Ambassador James F. Moriarty, Reasons 1.4 (b/d) 
1.  (C) Embassy Kathmandu welcomes the opportunity to 
respond to the Secretary's call for a strategic and 
systematic review of our democracy promotion efforts.  The 
situation in Nepal is fragile and deteriorating rapidly. 
The main impediment to the growth of democracy here is the 
violent Maoist insurgency, but the King's recent anti- 
democratic actions have increased the possibility that the 
Maoists will succeed in their goal of imposing totalitarian 
rule.  The King's February 1 seizure of power, followed by 
a number of measures which have further alienated Nepal's 
political parties from the Palace, have not only fueled a 
deepening constitutional crisis but also strengthened the 
hand of the Maoists.  The Maoists and political parties 
have begun talking about increasing their cooperation; the 
Parties are motivated to do so to increase pressure on the 
King toward compromise while the Maoists see an alliance 
with the Parties as a means to overthrow the King and a 
shortcut toward seizing power.  In the immediate term, our 
democracy efforts need to focus on encouraging the King to 
abandon his dangerous course of alienating the political 
parties and instead seek unity among Nepal's legitimate 
political forces.  Our strategy therefore includes a 
carrots and sticks package for King Gyanendra. In the 
longer term, efforts should focus on strengthening Nepal's 
fragile democratic institutions as well as on preventing a 
Maoist takeover.  While democratic institutions will be 
essential to a lasting solution to the insurgency, efforts 
to promote such institutions will be hampered by and must 
be designed against the backdrop of Maoist violence and 
extremist objectives. 
High-Level Visit 
2.  (C) Given the urgency of the situation here, we should 
consider intensifying the pressure on the King to reach out 
to the political parties to seek agreement on a way 
forward.  We hope Gyanendra would be receptive to a tough 
love message accompanied by a package of carrots and 
sticks, especially if delivered by a high-level emissary. 
A presidential letter to the King could be instrumental in 
helping him save face and climb down.  The high-level visit 
also serves to provide high-media exposure of democratic 
Carrots/Sticks Package 
3. (C) We should offer the King a way out of the current 
impasse by letting him know the USG is prepared to offer a 
package of carrots if he does the right thing and sticks as 
consequences if he continues on his present course or takes 
even more repressive actions.  We should offer to 
establish a long-term relationship involving substantial 
development and security assistance as well as more 
intensive engagement on issues of mutual interest.  The 
package could be phased to reward progress on returning to 
democracy.  We believe that the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) 
may be an important lever to use to convince the King to 
alter course.  The King relies on the RNA for support, and 
is likely to heed his generals' advice.  Some in the RNA 
have started to question the King's course, and perhaps 
would be open to alternatives that would ensure the Army's 
institutional survival rather than following the King over 
an abyss.  In addition, we need to continually consider the 
importance of providing support to the RNA to enable it to 
effectively address the insurgency.  Should the insurgents 
begin to make significant military gains, we would need to 
be in a position to adjust our security assistance.  Given 
the rapidly deteriorating situation, it makes sense to 
include a robust security assistance package, which is tied 
to democracy benchmarks, as one of our carrots.  We should 
be prepared to present this tough love message to the King 
soon.  We are very concerned that by early to mid-November 
the situation here could get dramatically worse.  Daily 
protests numbering in the hundreds of thousands instead of 
tens of thousands would increase the potential for 
violence.  If the Maoists and the political parties forge a 
closer working relationship, the likelihood of violence 
escalates even further. 
Flexibility Given Uncertain Outcomes 
4.  (S/NF) Our strategy also needs to be nuanced and 
flexible to react to evolving political events.  Given the 
uncertainties, we should be prepared to react to the 
various possible scenarios: The King reaches out to the 
political parties and the legitimate political 
forces unite on a way back to democracy and addressing the 
Maoist insurgency; The King takes more repressive moves, 
such as outlawing the political parties or declaring 
martial law, and the Maoists take advantage and make 
significant progress; or, The King allows the situation to 
continue deteriorating without taking further action.  We 
will need to be prepared to think about whether there are 
ways to ensure that the possible collapse of the Monarchy 
does not lend to large advances by the Maoists -- focusing 
on steps we can take to ensure a "soft landing." 
Work with Our International Partners 
5. (S) Continuing to work with our international partners 
will be key to achieving our democracy goals.  We need to 
ensure we share our views and strategies and emphasize the 
same messages.  To effectively address the Maoist 
insurgency and restore democratic institutions, extreme 
caution will be necessary.  The Maoists are eager to use 
the King's missteps for their own end and we need to remind 
our partners that the Maoists' goal remains the seizure of 
all state power.  Although killings have decreased since 
the Maoists declared their September 3 three-month cease- 
fire, abductions and extortion continue unchecked.  We 
need to engage actively with India and Europe to make sure 
that they, and other external forces trying to get involved 
here, do not push the parties toward some sort of 
functional alliance with the Maoists. 
Needed: PD Strategy and Resources 
6. (C) Washington and Post must fashion a clear and 
coordinated PD strategy to ensure U.S. policy to advance 
freedom, democracy, and human rights in Nepal is accurately 
grasped by media (national and international) and the 
broader Nepali public. 
7. (SBU) Embassy requests additional resources, 
specifically to create and fill a position in the 
Political/Economic Section and an Information Officer in 
the Public Affairs Section, in order to implement this 
strategy.  USAID is finalizing its triennial strategy for 
Nepal; its strategy has alternative proposals for funding 
levels.  To accomplish our democracy strategy effectively, 
Washington should consider funding at the highest 
levels allowing a number of proposed interventions that 
could bear immediate fruit.  End Introduction. 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
8. (C) Following are answers to specific questions raised 
in reftel: 
The ten-year Maoist insurgency poses considerable obstacles 
to Nepal making progress on democracy. The King's February 
1 actions were a significant setback to the nascent 
democracy in Nepal. 
-- The lack of a representative government at any level is 
a key democracy deficit.  The Maoist violent insurgency has 
prevented Nepal from holding elections since 1999 and makes 
the prospect of future elections questionable.  His 
Majesty's Government of Nepal (HMGN) has proposed holding 
municipal elections by April 2006.  Thus far, the 
mainstream political parties have said they will not 
participate in these elections; the seven-party Alliance 
insists on the reinstatement of Parliament (dissolved in 
2002), a step the King opposes, citing the Supreme Court's 
decision that the dissolution was constitutional. 
Desired outcome: The Palace and the Parties agree on a way 
ahead on returning to democracy, be it elections, 
reinstatement of Parliament, appointment of an interim 
government, or some other arrangement. 
-- Elections are a critical element of democracy, as they 
are the only means to test the people's will and restore 
functioning democratic institutions. 
Desired Outcome: Free and fair elections. If the legitimate 
political forces (the Palace and the Parties) reach 
agreement, municipal elections could be held in a phased 
manner to address security concerns. 
-- Even though the King's popular support has declined 
steadily since July when he expanded his Cabinet and the 
Royal Commission for Corruption Control convicted former PM 
Deuba, public support for the political parties has not 
increased.  Currently, the political parties are focusing 
all their energy on organizing and participating in 
demonstrations against the King's rule rather than on a 
positive agenda. 
Desired outcome: The political parties become entities 
perceived by the public as viable to run the government. 
To do so, the Parties need to focus on internal reforms, 
including intra-party democracy, transparency and anti- 
-- Nepal's lack of institutions with legitimacy is a 
serious democracy deficit.  A strong and independent 
judiciary is sorely needed.  The Government continues to 
apply pressure on the courts, and corruption remains a 
serious problem.  The constitutionally-mandated Commission 
on the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) deserves 
strengthening and support. 
Desired outcome: A stronger, cleaner and more independent 
judiciary system capable of serving as a check on the 
executive branch and protecting the Constitution. 
-- There are growing challenges to media freedom.  HMGN has 
pressured media on several fronts -- e.g., publicly 
threatening unspecified measures against an English- 
language newspaper for an anti-monarchy editorial cartoon 
and seeking in court to prohibit private radio stations 
from broadcasting their own news reports. 
Desired Outcome:  Editors and broadcast media managers 
cover developments in Nepal with less hindrance and threat 
of government reprisals.  Media organizations strengthen 
their ability to provide independent coverage and 
commentary, and to safeguard media independence through 
legal and regulatory means. 
9. (C) As noted above, Nepal's political situation could 
deteriorate rapidly within the next two months.  We thus 
need to marshal a diplomatic effort to impress upon the 
King the risk his current course of action poses to Nepal. 
If the King and the political parties agree on a way back 
to democracy, the international community will need to be 
poised to provide additional assistance, possibly including 
election monitors.  In the event that, despite our best 
efforts, the King imposes more repressive measures, we will 
need to continue to work diplomatically to encourage the 
political parties to pursue a program that will permit a 
soft-landing -- a post-Monarchy future that does not allow 
the Maoists to take advantage of chaos to grab power. 
10.  (SBU) Post, through Public Affairs Section (PAS) media 
and cultural programs, USAID and Embassy activities, 
consistently promotes democracy and its benefits.  Ongoing 
efforts include: 
--Close coordination with India, UK and other international 
-- Ambassador's public diplomacy efforts on democracy. 
Tied to political developments, PAS places newspaper op-eds 
by the Ambassador and/or other prominent USG officials. 
When appropriate, PAS arranges interviews with the 
Ambassador in important Nepali TV and print media.  The 
Ambassador delivers at least one major policy speech 
detailing U.S. views.  While promoting democratic 
developments, the Ambassador's PD interventions will 
consistently stress the Maoist threat and their goal of 
one-party authoritarian rule over Nepal. 
-- Engagement with political party representatives on plans 
to promote democracy. 
-- Strengthening institutional and individual capacity for 
good governance.  Such efforts encourage democratic ideals 
and help to establish the institutional foundations that 
will support free and fair elections and a restored 
parliamentary government. 
-- Improving the capability of the Election Commission to 
be ready for elections.  In the event of an improved climate 
for elections, the program would shift to direct support of 
the process. 
-- Reforming and strengthening the political parties. 
-- Undertaking activities to strengthen the permanent 
staff still associated with the dismissed Parliament and to 
support the anti-corruption elements of HMGN, such as the 
CIAA, Customs and Revenue Offices, and the Auditor general. 
-- Devoting significant resources to enhancing the 
judicial system, including training and commodities for the 
judiciary as well as alternative dispute resolution options 
to enhance public access to an efficient judicial system. 
-- Working with R to include mention of Nepal, where 
appropriate, in public statements on democracy and freedom 
by the Secretary and other top USG officials. 
-- Launching a series of digital videoconferences (DVCs) 
with prominent, expert USG and non-USG speakers on 
democracy in Nepal and the threat of the Maoist insurgency 
to Nepal's future.   On-the-record programs should receive 
good media play in Nepal, as did a recent DVC with former 
envoy Julia Chang Bloch.  Timing:  Every three-four weeks. 
-- Hosting at least three IIP speakers in Nepal on 
democracy-focused themes such as community media/radio, 
media regulation, journalism training, strategic 
communication for political parties, party organization 
(development, promotion, funding), etc. 
-- Continuing activities in support of HMGN's Peace 
Secretariat with the objective of enabling it to engage 
actors in Nepal and serve as a forum to shape a peace process. 
-- Continuing support for the UN Office of the High 
Commissioner for Human Rights. 
-- Educational and library programs related to democracy, 
such as book translations and Article Alert services.  Such 
IIP and library-generated products are frequently used by 
media and other high-level contacts. 
11.  (C) Additional specific proposed actions/events for 
the next six months: 
-- Dispatch Emissary with presidential letter and package 
of carrots and sticks. 
Possible Carrots 
     -- Offer to work with Congress to establish a long- 
term relationship with Nepal that would involve not only 
more military and development assistance but also an 
institutionalized engagement in various areas of 
mutual interest. 
     -- Offer to examine possibility of Nepal participating 
in the Millennium Challenge Account. 
     -- Support (and help garner international support) for 
Nepali participation in fora  such as the Community of 
     -- Offer to work with Congress to substantially 
increase development assistance. 
     -- Offer to work with Congress to provide a robust 
security assistance package that would be phased and tied 
to progress on specific events.  Elements of such a package 
could include rifles, helicopters, training, night vision 
devices and communications equipment. 
Possible Sticks 
     -- Suspend senior U.S. visits to Nepal and oppose 
senior Nepalese visits to the U.S. 
     -- Formally suspend all military training (no more 
case-by-case review). 
     -- Suspend all, including non-lethal, military 
     -- Alert HMGN that we plan to increase public statements 
critical of the King. 
     -- Recall Ambassador Moriarty for consultations, and 
encourage India and the UK to recall their ambassadors 
as well. 
     -- Notify HMGN that we plan to support an Item 9 
resolution on Nepal at the 2006 UN Commission on Human 
-- Organize and co-sponsor a conference on "Democracy, 
Nepal, and South Asia."  Guest speakers from the region, 
the United States, and perhaps third countries address 
democracy, civil liberties, civil-military relations, and 
internal conflict.  Invite a high-level speaker from the 
Department, such as U/S Burns, U/S Dobriansky or Deputy 
Secretary Zoellick, to open the conference either in person 
or via videoconference to ensure wide media attention.  The 
conference should draw media, academic, political, civil 
society, and government attention to issues of democracy in 
Nepal.  It would also highlight trends and strengths of 
democracy in South Asia and promote regional cooperation. 
-- Support Voice of America (VOA) staff to conduct an 
assessment of Nepal's media environment to determine how 
USG civilian broadcast agencies can best support 
democracy in Nepal, working with SA/PPD.  Possible outcomes 
are resumption of VOA Nepali service on radio (shortwave or 
FM); special democracy radio programming for Nepal produced 
by VOA; possible VOA-TV collaboration with private Nepali 
broadcasters; and subsequent VOA training for local 
journalists, especially community radio broadcasters. 
-- Organize a live (or videotaped) interview on Nepali TV 
via satellite with SecState to support/encourage democratic 
developments in Nepal, if warranted by developments. 
-- Provide study tours for lower court judges to provide 
them access to the international judicial community, from 
which they can learn modern jurisprudence and also find a 
community of support for judicial independence, which is 
lacking in Nepal. 
-- Consider training in the investigation and prosecution 
of financial crimes.  The skills to track the money in 
fraud or corruption cases are equally applicable in tracing 
terrorist connections; we should consider using counter- 
terrorism resources to finance such training. 
-- Conduct  a poll to survey attitudes of Nepalis on topics 
such as democracy, the monarchy, and other key topics. 
-- Organize a SCP for five to seven IVLP participants from 
media, government, and legal sectors to  examine media 
regulation in a democracy, a key issue in Nepal in light of 
HMGN's efforts to suppress radio news broadcasts, limit 
freedom of expression, and enact new laws to restrict media 
ownership.  Participants would see that media regulation is 
not the same as censorship and that the United States has 
been able to balance freedom of speech with national 
-- Organize a TV Co-op with a private Nepali broadcaster on 
freedom of speech in America.  Co-op, aired on Nepali TV, 
would illustrate the vibrancy of political debate in 
America, drawing lessons for Nepal with its frequent 
political protests in Kathmandu. 
-- Conduct  an IVLP SCP for five-seven young political 
party leaders (translation required) to  stress the role of 
developing young political leaders.  Visitors would 
interact with American Council of Young Political Leaders 
and youth wings of Republican and Democrat parties.  If 
timed simultaneously with TV Co-op on freedom of speech 
(proposed above),  Co-op could include coverage of young 
political leaders interacting with U.S. counterparts, 
making Co-op production more attractive to 
Nepali broadcasters. 
-- Collaborate with a prominent cultural institution to 
translate and perform an American play with a democracy 
-- Organize an "individuals traveling together" IVLP for 
three to four Nepali participants, likely 
journalist/commentators and analysts, on civil-military 
relations in a democracy.  Program would stress the 
military's role in a democracy and the paramount role of 
civilian leaders in determining a nation's defense 
resources and defense strategy. 
-- Host American Film Festival with democracy theme. 
Personnel Resources 
12.  (SBU) The Embassy lacks the personnel resources needed 
to accomplish these objectives.  Post's 2006 MPP requested 
two additional positions to meet our current goals: a FSO- 
03 deputy for the Political/Economic Section and an FSO-03 
Information Officer.  Intensifying the promotion of 
democracy in a meaningful way will require these personnel. 
Post also requests that two positions we understand are 
currently programmed to be cut be reinstated as they are 
critical to meet both ongoing goals and new objectives - 
the Assistant Public Affairs Officer position and a 
Political/Economic Officer position.  These two entry level 
positions reflect one-half and one-third of each section 
respectively.  We would also highly benefit from an A/DATT. 
DIA is looking at a civilian A/DATT/Analyst position 
programmed for 07-08 but that strikes us as too long a 
High-Level Visits 
13.  (C) The diplomatic and programmatic strategy above 
calls for several high-level visitors, to possibly include: 
PACOM Admiral Fallon, Dr. Kissinger, Deputy Secretary 
Zoellick, P U/S Burns and G U/S Dobriansky.  The presence 
of such high level officials in Nepal would highlight to 
the Nepali public the importance we place on democracy 
promotion, and provide an opportunity to effectively 
deliver our message to the King.  In addition to high level 
visits, we would ask for cooperation with SA/PPD, IIP, and 
R in securing public statements from and DVC availability 
by high-level State Department officers. 
Public Diplomacy Resources 
14.  (SBU) The November Democracy Conference will require 
about $50,000, not available in PAS's regular budget.  PAS 
also requests sufficient I-Bucks for IIP speakers and DVCs 
outlined above.  The Department already has provided FY05 
funding for the American theater and book translation 
projects, but PAS will require IIP assistance in gaining 
copyrights for the selected play and book, as well as for a 
potential film festival.  TV Co-ops and IVLP SCPs would 
require additional IIP and ECA funding.  A VOA staff visit 
and possible training would require limited funding, but a 
possible resulting initiative to launch a VOA Nepali radio 
service and/or special democracy programming on radio would 
require more expansive resources. 
USAID Resources 
15.  (SBU) USAID's new country strategy for Nepal to 
commence in 2006-2007 represents a shift in the development 
approach to heighten concentration on conflict mitigation 
and improvement of the democracy/governance climate.  While 
much of the strategy envisions longer term results, a 
number of proposed interventions could have an immediate 
impact and would be most effective if financed at the high- 
funding option of $60M/year.  The strategy is designed for 
maximum flexibility to respond to the fluidity of the 
political and security situations in Nepal.  A possible new 
program is Community Policing, which would repair 
relations between communities and governmental forces and 
encourage village solidarity. 
16.  (C) The King's February 1 takeover was a tremendous 
setback to our twin, inter-related goals in Nepal: 
restoring democratic institutions and preventing a Maoist 
takeover.  HMGN will likely continue to prevent the 
political parties and civil society from holding pro- 
democracy demonstrations in certain areas and towns.  The 
parties will probably remain focused on the King rather 
than trying to promote reform from within to make 
themselves a more viable alternative for the public.  HMGN 
may threaten or harass independent Nepali media 
organizations or individual journalists who cooperate with 
pro-democracy PD efforts.  The Ministry of Information and 
Communication may begin to restrict DVC programs by making 
ISDN lines unavailable.  (PAS has no alternative to Nepal 
Telecom ISDN lines at this time.)  HMGN may restrict travel 
of potential IVs, as happened with some activists who tried 
to leave the country during the State of Emergency. 
17.  (C) India, China, Great Britain, and the EU have 
influence in Nepal.  We should continue to coordinate 
closely with the international community, in particular 
India and the UK, on the steps outlined above.  The 
November Democracy Conference must take into account India 
and also the wariness of Nepalese audiences to 
messages/interference from India.  The conference could 
offer an opportunity for third country representatives to 
promote democratic development, softening possible "America 
only" perception of the event. 
18.  (C) Currently, there are many problematic HMGN policy 
areas.  HMGN is considering pursuing municipal elections in 
April even if the political parties do not participate. 
The Government is currently pursuing a legal case to 
prevent private radio stations from collecting and 
broadcasting news.  The Ministry of Information and 
Communication frequently makes incorrect statements about 
media freedom in other countries in an effort to legitimize 
its crackdown on journalists, especially in radio sector. 
Media programs should include ministry representatives 
where possible, and they would be essential to the media- 
themed IVLP SCP.  We, along with the international 
community, are working with the Social Welfare Council as 
it drafts a Code of Conduct for NGOs and INGOs.  We have 
raised concerns that the draft Code could affect our 
development assistance as well as impose restrictions on 
the rights to association and expression. 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
19.  (C) HMGN has already started publicly decrying the 
influence of foreign support for the political parties as a 
destabilizing force.  An even more proactive USG role could 
intensify HMGN's displeasure with the U.S.  Government- 
owned media likely will promote resentment and criticize 
U.S. efforts as interference in Nepal's internal affairs. 
HMGN could distance itself from the USG and seek support 
from countries with whom we have no influence or with whom 
we disagree on a range of policy issues.  That said, 
pursuing the agenda could embolden the political parties to 
take the tough actions they need and undertake internal 
reform.  It could also provide the support they need to 
stand up to the King without forging an alliance with the 
Maoists.  Specific programs -- e.g., SCP on media 
regulation, (proposed) TV interview with SecState -- could 
concretely advance developments in Nepal, encouraging pro- 
democracy forces to continue and broaden their campaign to 
restore democratic government in Nepal and reject the 
Maoist goal of an authoritarian one-party state. 

(Source: From Wikileaks)

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