In an interesting turn of events, the Foreign Ministry of Nepal government has expressed "surprise" over the recent remarks made by an American government official that the US is ready to take up to 60,000 Bhutanese refugees.
"The US has not discussed the issue with us. We do not understand how an American (official) made those remarks," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yadav Khanal is quoted as saying by Nepal Samacharpatra daily.
He was referring to recent remarks made by US Assistant Secretary of State for Refugee Affairs, Ellen Sauerbrey, during a conference of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva where she had stated that the US was "willing to resettle a very significant part of this [refugee] population." She said, "We think over the next three or four years that we can easily absorb 50,000 or 60,000 of the people who are now in these camps," AP quoted her as saying. There are around 106,000 Bhutanese living in UNHCR-run camps in the eastern district of Jhapa and Morang.
The US proposal has not been received with excitement by the refugee leaders who say that their first priority should be the repatriation. They claim that US willingness to resettle refugees could send a wrong message to the Bhutanese regime and absolve it of all its wrongdoings. nepalnews.com sd Oct 06 06