-  Friday 15 January 2021

Talks intensify on troubled Nepal peace process

 -  AFP

Dec 14 2007 - Negotiations in Nepal between former Maoist rebels and mainstream parties on resuscitating the Himalayan nation's stalled peace process have intensified, officials said Friday.

Politicians said they were hopeful that the latest round of talks would lead to a breakthrough in resolving differences over a year-old peace pact, but the Maoists cautioned that key hurdles had yet to be overcome.

A leading member of Nepal's main communist party, Amrit Bohara, told AFP that meetings were in progress between Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, Maoist leader Prachanda and other top leaders.

"We are hopeful that there will be some kind of breakthrough," he said.

But a Maoist official said there was still deep disagreement over demands by the former rebels for sweeping electoral reforms as well as the integration of their fighters into the pro-royal Nepal army.

The Maoists are also calling for the immediate abolition of the Himalayan nation's monarchy.

"We are hopeful of reaching an agreement, but up to now no basis for agreement has been created," said senior Maoist leader Dev Gurung.

The Maoists, who ended a decade-long insurgency late last year, stormed out of an interim government in September, complaining they were not being given equal representation in the peace process.

The ex-rebels have also accused loyalists of embattled King Gyanendra of seeking to undermine elections aimed at deciding the country's political future. As a result of the dispute, these polls have been postponed twice.

"Royalist forces are conspiring against the elections, so unless we abolish the monarchy, the Constituent Assembly elections will not take place," Gurung said.

Mainstream parties want the fate of the king to be decided after polls, as was agreed to in the peace accord.

Source : AFP

Other articles by reporter AFP

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