KATHMANDU, Sept. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- For the
first time after formerUS President John F. Kennedy sent American volunteers to
Nepal in 1962, the US Embassy to Nepal has announced to suspend the Peace Corps'
activities in the Himalayan kingdom.
The Peace Corps
of the United States has suspended its program in Nepal after the bomb explosion
by suspected Nepalese anti-government insurgents in the American Information
Center in Kathmandu last Friday.
US Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez announced the suspension of its
program in Nepal effective immediately, according to a press release issued by
the American Information Center, available here Friday.
"The safety and security of the volunteers are the number one priority of
the Peace Corps and in light of the current conditionsin Nepal, suspension of
the program is a necessary action," Vasquez said.
"The Peace Corps had a successful 42-year program in Nepal, making great
strides in the areas of small business development, education, environment,
youth development and working on health and HIV/AIDS education and awareness,"
The Peace Corps program in Nepal began in 1962. Since then, more than 4,000
Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers inthe South Asian country.
Suspected insurgents exploded a bomb last Friday evening at theAmerican
Information Center, the headquarters of the US Peace Corps and a semi-official
US organization based in Nepal's capitalKathmandu.
The bomb was thrown from outside the eastern side wall of the center
compound in Gyaneshwar of downtown Kathmandu and damaged the roof of a toilet
and a satellite communications disk. However,there was no major damage or human
casualty in the incident.
The American Information Center is funded by the US government,functioning
as a cultural exchange organization in Nepal.
The anti-government insurgents has intensified their violent activities
targeting the government forces, state-owned companies and foreign invested
enterprises across Nepal in recent weeks. They have demanded US companies to
withdraw from Nepal.
On last Sunday afternoon, the insurgents detonated a gas cylinder bomb on
Bagmati bridge in downtown Kathmandu city injuring a dozen people.
About 10,000 Nepalese people have lost their lives since the
anti-government insurgency broke out in the Himalayan kingdom in early 1996.
These attacks also prompted the US government to provide additional
security assistance to Nepal to fight against the anti-government insurgency.
Immediately after the attack on the American Information Center,the US
government decided to provide 1 million US dollars in additional security
assistance and will seek additional assistancefunding for its next fiscal year.
During the last three years, Washington has increased its annual
development assistance to Nepal from 20 million dollars to 40 million dollars
every year in an attempt to help the Nepali government to fight the insurgency.
US Ambassador to Nepal James F. Moriarty said last Friday, "We will work
with Nepal to ensure that the rebels are never able to takeover Kathmandu."
He also confirmed an emerging relationship between Washington and New Delhi
to fight against the insurgency in Nepal.
About 100 Nepalese police personnel are undergoing secret three-month
training of anti-insurgency operations near Hyderabad, capital of the
south-Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
This is the first direct assistance being provided by India to Nepal in
dealing with the Nepalese anti-government guerrillas. Thetraining comes in the
wake of Nepali Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's official visit to India last
week, during which New Delhi promised "all help" to its neighbor, including
military hardware worth of millions of US dollars. Enditem