A letter that stopped extradition treaty

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Devendra Bhattarai

 

Kathmandu – It has been disclosed that a day before visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Nepal in October (third week of Ashoj), the foreign affairs committee of the US lower house had written a direct letter to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, urging him not to sign ‘extradition treaty with China’.

US Senator and member of foreign affairs committee Robert Menendez drew attention by writing a letter on 11th October, stating that Nepal is considering to sign an extradition treaty with China during the visit of Chinese president to Nepal and with this the process of removal of Tibetan refugees may proceed in Nepal.

According to the home and foreign ministry sources, a draft agreement on ‘extradition treaty with China’ prepared by two sides had been approved by the cabinet meeting on 7th October. But, a day before visit of President Xi, Prime Minister Oli informed unexpectedly ‘Due to adverse conditions extradition treaty with China couldn’t happen this time’ to the cabinet held on 11th October. Along with the senator’s letter ‘a warning message’ from US side made the government to setback at that time, according to sources.

Even before the approval made by cabinet meeting, US officials got clue on this and had ‘lobbying’ intensified against extradition treaty with China. When there is no way to handle the extradition treaty agenda, then government postponed it and signed the preliminary draft of a ‘mutual legal assistance treaty on criminal matters’ with China.

In a letter from senator Menendez to Prime Minister Oli, on behalf of the lower house parliamentary committee which guides US foreign policy, warned of a rift in Nepal-US bilateral relations if the extradition treaty was signed with China. ‘There will be serious negative impact on bilateral relations between our two countries (Nepal-US)’, he wrote. ‘I urge you to stop further steps toward this agreement.’

Senator Menendez stating in a letter ‘he was concerned by the media reports that Nepal is about to sign a treaty on force removal of Tibetans to China’ and mentioned sending Tibetan refugees forcibly to China could cause significant damage to Nepal’s international reputation.

The letter also urged the Government of Nepal to provide and issue necessary travel documents to Tibetan wishing to depart for India, according to the ‘the Gentlemen’s Agreement as done in the past’. Us senator Menendez, considered as influential in the US lower house requested to restart registration of Tibetan refugees living in Nepal.

As source, the day before landing in Kathmandu Chinese President Xi was dissatisfied to know that extradition treaty was halted under the US pressure. Most probably in that scenario, He made a strong remarks pointing to the United States. As news released by Chinese government news agency ‘Xinhua’, during the bilateral meeting with Oli, Xi strongly commented that anyone who wanted to disrupt Nepal-China relations would be slackened. Nepal-China extradition treaty which was not signed at that time, not been signed yet.

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