India, US press Nepal King to step down

Classified By: Ambassador James F. Moriarty, reasons 1.4 (b/d). 
1.  (S/NF) Indian Ambassador Mukherjee believes it important 
that we show the King and the people of Nepal that we remain 
closely lashed up with respect to handling the situation 
here.  In a February 27 conversation, Mukherjee suggested 
that it would be particularly useful if the President and 
Prime Minister Singh discussed Nepal during their upcoming 
conversations and pointed out that fact publicly.  Mukherjee 
agreed that pressure was building on King Gyanendra and hoped 
that staying the course and encouraging peaceful activities 
by the parties would lead to positive change; he shied away 
from my suggestions that the GOI might consider options to 
significantly up the ante on the King.  Mukherjee noted that 
he had been pushing Nepal's political parties to push the 
Maoists in a peaceful direction and would urge India's 
intelligence agencies to begin giving a similarly tough 
message to the Maoists. 
Doing Good Work with the Political Parties 
2.  (C) I met with Indian Ambassador Mukherjee at his request 
on February 27.  He began by pointing out that he had 
followed up on his commitment to encourage the political 
parties to press the Maoists to live up to their commitments 
regarding non-violence (ref.).  He had told the parties that 
my public comments on the subject had merely reinforced the 
long-standing principle of the parties themselves that the 
Maoists would have to prove their sincerity not just through 
lip service, but also through actions on the ground.  Some of 
the parties had pushed back at first, but all had eventually 
acknowledged the need to verify the sincerity of the Maoists. 
 I replied that I had seen articles in the press that had 
made it clear that Mukherjee had been urging the parties to 
use their contacts with the Maoists to urge moderation, and I 
thanked him for his efforts in this regard. 
Keeping Pressure on the King 
3.  (C) Mukherjee readily agreed with my statement that the 
King appeared to be under increasing pressure both 
domestically and internationally.  He noted that both China 
and Japan were increasingly pressing Gyanendra to compromise 
and that the King's domestic support continued to decline. 
The military was increasingly worried about the security 
situation and the lack of progress on the political front: 
the miserable showing by the RNA during the mid-February 
ambush in Nawalparasi District suggested that morale was 
alarming and could have a negative impact on morale. 
Meanwhile, the parties hoped to mobilize increasing numbers 
of people for their peaceful demonstrations in the coming 
4.  (C) I told Ambassador Mukherjee that there was 
considerable concern in Washington that, if the King did not 
begin to reconcile with the parties soon, the situation here 
might spin out of control.  Mukherjee replied that many in 
New Delhi shared such concerns: he personally had told the 
Prime Minister during an early-February visit home that India 
needed to keep the pressure on the King, while not doing 
anything that could lead to serious advances by the Maoists. 
Mukherjee had insisted to the Prime Minister that, for now, 
the GOI had to wait and watch the situation in Nepal closely. 
 By the end of April, Mukherjee speculated, it would be 
clearer whether the mounting pressure would convince the King 
to compromise, or whether the Maoists were able to convert 
their current momentum into serious gains.  (Note:  March and 
April are, with respect to the weather, the best months for 
demonstrations in the Kathmandu Valley.  The parties have put 
in place stepped-up plans for peaceful protests during those 
months, while the Maoists have announced a general strike for 
mid-March and a nationwide strike for early April.  The 
Maoists will presumably enforce their strikes with violence.) 
Less Desirable Options 
5.  (S/NF) Mukherejee agreed that both our governments would 
likely have to provide emergency assistance to the Nepali 
government if the security situation deteriorated 
dramatically in the coming weeks; we also agreed, however, 
that throwing the King a lifeline to save him from his own 
obstinacy would be a difficult policy prescription to follow 
in both Washington and New Delhi and would be accepted only 
in the face of a huge and immediate threat from the Maoists. 
In that context, I asked Mukherjee again whether he thought 
there would be any support in New Delhi for having Washington 
and New Delhi (and presumably London) issue an ultimatum to 
the King:  either begin meaningful reconciliation with the 
parties immediately, or the international community would 
commence severe sanctions against his regime.  I acknowledged 
that India would have to bear the brunt of implementing the 
most effective possible sanctions:  seizing royal family 
assets, banning royal family travel, closing the border to 
trade.  Mukherjee immediately replied that New Delhi would be 
very unlikely to agree to such a proposal:  Prime Minister 
Singh had made it clear that the GOI should do nothing that 
would hurt the people of Nepal. 
Keeping the Intelligence Agencies in Line 
6.  (S/NF) I reminded Ambassador Mukherjee that Washington 
was becoming discomforted by all-too-credible rumors that 
Indian intelligence agencies were squiring the top leaders of 
the Maoists around New Delhi and arranging interviews for 
them.  Mukherjee replied that he had neither the ability nor 
the desire to know exactly what the Indian intelligence 
agencies were up to.  He added, however, that he would be 
communicating to those agencies that, in whatever contacts 
they had with the Maoists, they needed to stress:  that the 
GOI would do everything necessary to prevent them from 
establishing a one-party dictatorship in Nepal; that they 
would be judged not by their statements, but by their 
actions; and that the only way they could return to the 
political mainstream in Nepal would be by foreswearing 
violence and abandoning their weapons. 
7.  (C) This was an encouraging meeting.  Mukherjee clearly 
wanted to ensure that, on the eve of the President's visit to 
New Delhi, GOI and USG policy on Nepal were as much as 
possible in synch.  I agree with him completely that the best 
means to keep productive pressure on the King is to make it 
clear that the leaders of our two countries are working 
together, and see eye-to-eye, on Nepal. (Source: Wikileaks) 


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