Carter to mediate between Nepal King, Maoists
The decade-old Maoist insurgency in Nepal will capture world attention when former US president and Nobel laureate Jimmy Carter visits here in May to mediate between King Gyanendra's government and the communist guerrillas.
Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, Carter would have another go at trying to restore peace when he arrives here May 4 to hold talks with Gyanendra, leaders of major political parties and representatives of the banned Communist party of Nepal (Maoist).
The visit will be a shot in the arm for the Maoists, who remain branded as terrorists by the US and Nepal governments with Washington urging the Nepali opposition parties to break off their alliance with the guerrillas.
The Carter Center in Atlanta has been showing a keen interest to mediate between the palace, parties and the outlaws.
Last year it invited opposition leaders and a former minister, regarded as being close to the Maoists, to the US for dialogue.
It is reported to have had plans to invite a team of government officials as well as Maoists to further the discussions but the plan fell through.
Though Nepal's government has been consistently ruling out external mediation, having earlier rejected similar gestures by the UN and the European Union, Gyanendra will meet the former US president as a last-ditch attempt to come out of his increasing isolation, both at home and abroad.
Carter's visit would come after a series of protests by the opposition parties that start from April 6 to oppose Gyanendra's power grab last year.
The government has warned that it will treat the disruptions as terrorist activities and stop them, hinting at a further clampdown.
A senior opposition leader has already been transferred to a detention camp from house arrest and the parties anticipate a fresh round of arrests.
Against this backdrop, it remains to be seen how successful Carter's mediation mission would be.