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Nepal Maoists keen to establish ties with US

Nepal Maoists' chief Prachanda asks former US president to intercede with Washington to take his party off the US list of terrorist organisations.

world Updated: Jun 15, 2007 22:09 IST

Nepal Maoists' chief Prachanda on Friday asked former US president Jimmy Carter to intercede with Washington to take his party off the US list of terrorist organisations.

Carter met the top leaders of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which is outlawed in the US, marking the first public interaction between the rebels and an American citizen of his stature.

"I told Carter we would like to establish amicable diplomatic relations with the US," Prachanda said after the nearly hour-long meeting. "We are ready to hold talks with Washington at any level."

The Maoist chief also said Carter wanted to know if the crucial election, postponed once, would be held in November.

"I told him we had fought our 10-year people's war just for the election," Prachanda said. "We want to have the election at the earliest since we will derive benefits from it."

The Nobel peace prize laureate also asked Prachanda about the activities of the Young Communist League, the militant youth wing of the rebels, which had acquired a reputation for taking the law in its own hands.

However, after the meeting, Prachanda, who attended a public programme in Kirtipur town, expressed misgivings that it could be impossible to hold the election even in November in view of the deteriorating security situation.

In less than a week, four rebels have been killed in the Terai plains.

A local Maoist leader, Dasahrath Thakur, was killed on Tuesday in Saptari district by a band of former Maoists, who have now begun waging a war on their former comrades.

On Wednesday, even as the guerrillas called a closure in Saptari in protest, two members of its militant youth wing, the Young Communist League, were killed in clashes in Rupandehi, allegedly by the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, whose leaders also met Carter on Wednesday.

The killings continued on Thursday when Jokhan Mansoor was gunned down in Bara district by the same band of renegade Maoists, the Janatantrik Terai Mukrti Morcha led by former Maoist Jwala Singh.

The Maoists' central committee leaders held an emergency meeting in the capital to discuss the fresh developments.

Chandra Prakash Gajurel, in charge of the party's foreign division, told the media after the meeting that his party would start a new agitation to combat the continuous attack on Maoist cadres. A committee has also been formed to chalk out the plan of action.

"We have discussed what our moves would be in the government and in parliament," Gajurel said, without elaborating.