Govt, rebels try to work out differences over Constitution | india | Hindustan Times
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Govt, rebels try to work out differences over Constitution

india Updated: Dec 15, 2006 11:47 IST
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Nepal's government and communist rebels have not been able to agree on an interim Constitution but will continue meeting to work out their differences, officials said on Friday.

Leaders of the seven ruling parties and top Maoist rebels have been meeting since Wednesday to finalise the temporary Constitution.

Another meeting was set for Friday between Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala; ruling party leaders; Maoist leader Prachanda, who uses one name; and his deputy, Baburam Bhattarai.

"We are close to agreement on several issues but there are still some matters that are left to be settled," said Arjun Narsingh of Koirala's Nepali Congress party.

The rebels could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday. The main differences have been over the rebels' wishes to include education, health care and employment as fundamental rights.

The two sides also were not able to agree on how the security council, which mobilises the nearly 100,000-strong army, should be formed.

Nepal is to operate under an interim constitution until next year's elections for a special assembly, which will create a new Constitution and decide how Nepal's political system will operate.

The assembly will also determine the future of King Gyanendra, who was forced by massive public protests to relinquish his absolute rule in April.

Parliament has since stripped him of all his powers. The government and rebels last month signed a peace accord under which thousands of rebel fighters will be confined to UN-monitored camps without access to their weapons.

The rebels began fighting in 1996 for a communist state. In April this year, they declared a ceasefire and began peace talks with the government.