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Rebels positive about peace talks

Maoist rebels in Nepal have reiterated their commitment to making the ongoing peace talks with the new government a success.

“We are having detailed discussions with the government to lead the talks in a positive direction,” said Krishna Bahadur Mahara, senior Maoist leader and spokesperson for the Maoists, who have been waging an armed rebellion against the Nepalese state over the last 10 years, demanding a communist republic.

The Maoists and the new government - formed by the country’s seven main parties after the end of the direct rule of the Nepalese monarch King Gyanendra in April, following nationwide protests - are in the process of finalising peace talks after a series of informal talks between both groups.

The first round of talks was held on 26 May in the capital, Kathmandu, where the parties signed a code of conduct to be observed by both sides during the ongoing bilateral ceasefire, which has been in place for two months.

However, both the government and the Maoists have been criticised by citizens’ groups and political parties for dragging their feet on the peace process. The Maoists in particular have come under attack for their constant demands to dissolve the recently restored parliament and government.

“There are still important declarations and decisions to be made by the parliament,” said Madhab Nepal, leader of the Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) party, Nepal’s second largest national party. He added that the existence of the parliament was important to help the process of the peace talks until an interim government is formed, which would also include Maoist party members.

So far, the government has agreed to all the demands put by the Maoists prior to the finalising of the peace talks. “An appropriate environment has been created for peace talks,” said Sushil Koirala, senior leader of the Nepali Congress (NC), the country’s largest party.

He explained further that the government had removed the terrorist tag from the Maoists. In addition, it had also decided to release all Maoist prisoners before the second round of peace talks, which are scheduled to be held soon.

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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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