Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Tulsi Giri speaks out

BBC: What is the reason made you come back?
Tulsi Giri:
(Laughs) It's not about what I want. It's the king who wants certain things achieved and I'm here to help him to the best of my ability for the country's sake.

But you've been away a long time. How familiar are you still with Nepal's ground reality?
Even if I was away I used to keep in touch.

People are surprised that you came back.
How can I answer that? It's not for me to say why they are surprised.

Were you aware that the February First move was being planned?

You are now a senior official, what is your priority?
It is not my priority. The king has laid out his priorities in his proclamation. He said that the country is in a big crisis because of terrorism and everyone has to work together. Since then, the king has repeatedly expressed his commitment towards a constitutional monarchy and functioning democracy. He doesn't want a democracy in name only, he wants it to function. But for that the first priority is peace and order. Whoever is disturbs the peace and order has to be dealt with and an atmosphere created to allow political process to move ahead.

So how can you deal with those who are endangering peace?
That is a government policy question and I can't give you the details. What I can say is that, as the king said in his proclamation, everyone should pull in one direction and those who are on the path of terrorism should abandon it and join the mainstream. Whoever helps will be welcomed.

But the rebels have said they won't listen?
That's up to them, whether they want to listen or not. But we shouldn't be blamed for that. They can't accuse the king of not giving them a chance. Nowhere in the world has the road they have taken led to progress.

That's what you say but the Maoists say that their aim is to topple the monarchy. They are convinced that they are carrying out a successful revolution. How can you reconcile this?
They are entitled to believe whatever they want but what I am trying to say is that the road they have taken has never led to peace anywhere in the world. Terrorism has only terrorised the people, it hasn't resulted in social reform. Terrorist tactics work best when governments are weak and in Nepal the past 15 years is proof. They (the rebels) are free to believe what they want but the Nepali people don't believe in them.

Are there any moves towards negotiations?
Not by me. But if they're ready, we are ready.

There has been a lot of criticism from outside the country and talk of aid cuts.
That is a natural reaction based on their political ideology. But in state-to-state relations there are other issues. They haven't cut off aid, some countries have suspended it and this can be lifted through negotiations. In the age of globalisation there is interdependence but you can't force any country to do anything. It just doesn't work.

The people have misgiving that pillars of the Panchayat like you and Mr Bista have been brought back.
How can I help it if people have misgivings? I have clear instructions from the king about what I have to do. If you start listening to people who have misgivings you don't get anywhere.

Why did you give up on Nepal and live abroad for so long?
Again, you're asking a personal question and I can only say I had personal reasons.Were you frustrated with Nepali politics?
Maybe at that time I was frustrated, not just with Nepali politics but with politics in general. I would like to draw your attention to the extremely serious security situation here, in homes and in villages across the country there is great misery. The king is trying to rescue the country. I want to assure you that there are no political ambitions behind the king's move.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)