Cameron government minister warns Nepal of second humanitarian crisis

David Swire
Hugo Swire in Nepal in June 2014 Photo: Kantipur

A minister in Britain’s Cameron government has telephoned the Nepalese foreign minister to warn the latter of a ‘second humanitarian crisis’ if the current deadlock in the mountain nation is not resolved immediately. The British minister reminded Nepal that it was the Nepalese people who would ultimately have to sort out their own mess.

Hugo Swire, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, telephoned Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa on 19 November, a press release of the British Embassy in Kathmandu said on November 25.

It is understood Mr Swire, who is in charge of South Asia, expressed concern that the landlocked nation might slip into yet another wave of humanitarian crises – the first one being the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people in the country, including many foreign nationals.

“They had a positive and constructive discussion,” the statement said, “Mr Swire expressed his serious concerns about the impact of the border blockages on the supply and distribution of humanitarian assistance in Nepal.”

Nepal’s Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa

Taking a soft swipe at the Nepalese government’s inability to expedite the post-earthquake management, the Conservative MP urged the Government of Nepal ‘to provide the leadership required for the reconstruction process’.

“With winter approaching, there is a risk of a second humanitarian crisis if the situation is not resolved shortly,” the statement said.

Mr Swire assured the Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal of his England’s continued support and friendship for the people of Nepal. The UK is clear the political situation in Nepal is ultimately for Nepal to resolve. The UK hopes peaceful dialogue and compromise will continue, to find an agreed position that meets the needs of all Nepali citizens.

The call from a member of the David Cameron government indicates the thawing of the bilateral relations between Nepal and England. The relations between the two government had soured considerably after England accused Nepal of not letting its Chinook helicopters land in Nepal following the April earthquake. Nepal said the choppers were too big for Nepal’s airfield infrastructure.

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