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Nepal Maoists hold out white flag to India

Chief Prachanda hold out a white flag to the southern neighbour, saying his party's fears had been allayed.

world Updated: Jun 10, 2007 22:53 IST

Less than a week after Nepal's Maoist guerrillas accused India of meddling in the kingdom's internal affairs and trying to weaken them, their chief Prachanda held out a white flag to the southern neighbour, saying his party's fears had been allayed.

Following a lengthy meeting on Sunday between Maoist leaders and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, the guerrillas softened their stand, opting for a reconciliatory attitude. There had been growing diplomatic outrage at the rebels after their recent attack on the vehicle carrying the US ambassador to Nepal.

In a statement issued after a long hiatus, Maoist chief Prachanda on Sunday said the fear raised in his party after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's call to visiting Nepali politicians in New Delhi to forge deeper ties between the two parties had been laid to rest.

Prachanda referred to the positive role played by India when his underground party reached an understanding with the seven-party opposition, that paved the way for the ouster of King Gyanendra's regime and a formal end to the 10-year-old armed insurgency.

He also recalled India's positive role during the ongoing peace negotiations as well as New Delhi's pledged assistance to the key election, to be held in November.

Offering a tacit apology for the attack on American envoy James F Moriarty's vehicle by Maoist cadres, Prachanda said that his party had never attacked any foreigner during the 10-year uprising and did not plan to deviate at a time it was poised to take part in the election.

"We have urged the government to take action against the culprits," he said.

Soon after Prachanda's meeting with Koirala, Maoists called off their indefinite shutdown in Kapilavastu district in southwestern Nepal, enforced from Saturday, to pressure the Nepal Army into pulling out of the area.