Nepal Maoists pledge ceasefire extension | india | Hindustan Times
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Nepal Maoists pledge ceasefire extension

india Updated: Jul 19, 2006 12:55 IST
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Nepal's Maoist rebels pledged on Wednesday to extend a ceasefire in a bid to "establish lasting peace" in the Himalayan nation.

"As the peace process has moved in a positive direction, the three-month ceasefire will definitely be extended," Maoist spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara told the agency.

The spokesman did not reveal how long the ceasefire, which is slated to end in just over a week, would be extended but said the Maoists wanted "to establish lasting peace in the country."

The Maoists declared a ceasefire April 27 after King Gyanendra was forced to end 14 months of direct rule and reinstate parliament following weeks of pro-democracy protests.

The protests, which left 19 people dead and hundreds injured, were organised by political parties and Maoists who formed a loose alliance last November.

The rebels have pledged not to return to war and said they will return land and property that they seized during the 10-year conflict.

Both sides have agreed to hold elections to a body that will redraft Nepal's constitution and formally remove the king from politics.

On Friday, the rebel leadership is scheduled to meet Nepal's Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala for a second round of high-level peace talks.

After the first round June 16, the two sides announced they planned to draft a temporary Constitution, dissolve the recently reinstated parliament and form an interim government that would include the rebels.

Since the rebels began their "people's war" in 1996, at least 12,500 people have been killed and some 200,000 displaced.