U.S. Pressures Nepal On Tibetan Exiles
A trip to Tibetan refugee centers in Nepal by a high-profile United States diplomat could be seen as part of the United States’ “soft spot” for Tibet, or it could be seen as Washington defying China over human rights. Read the article in Asia Times here:
Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Mario Otero, who also serves as the White House’s special coordinator for Tibetan issues, visited Tibetan refugee centers in Nepal and southern India last week during a week-long trip to South Asia. During her visit, Otero showed the US’s solidarity to Tibetan exiles, even pressing Nepalese authorities to soften their stance on refugees. She also held bilateral meetings with senior government officials in New Delhi, Nepal and Bhutan.
Otero was accompanied with Scott H DeLisi, the US ambassadorto Nepal, and other US diplomats. They met with Nepalese Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal and raised issues relating to challenges faced by Tibetan refugees. “We made it clear that this is an important issue for us,” Otero told Nepalese media.
The envoy called on the Nepalese government to honor the United Nations-brokered “gentlemen’s agreement” between Nepal and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to provide safe transit to Tibetan refugees who wish to travel through Nepal to Dharamsala, India, the capital of exiled Tibetans. She also raised the issue of free passage for refugees from Tibet who face problems in Nepal due to their lack of identity cards. “There is a stable practice while dealing with Tibetan issues which ensures providing them free passage to India,” the US envoy was quoted by Kantipur online.