King agrees to meet opposition leaders | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

King agrees to meet opposition leaders

PTI | ByAgence France-Presse, Kathmandu
May 19, 2004 05:40 PM IST

Nepal's king agreed to opposition demands to negotiate with their full leadership in a bid to defuse a crisis over the royal control.

Nepal's king agreed Wednesday to opposition demands to negotiate with their full leadership in a bid to defuse a crisis over royal control of the Himalayan kingdom, a party leader said.

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Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa, a staunch royalist handpicked by King Gyanendra, resigned May 7 after more than a month of angry protests in Kathmandu against the monarchy.

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Nepal has since been in political deadlock with the opposition demanding the king invite leaders of the five main parties together to the palace and not individually as he had proposed.

"The king has agreed to meet the protesting opposition parties' leaders jointly Wednesday evening to discuss ways to end the current political impasse in the country," said a leader of the largest party, the Nepali Congress.

He said the five-party alliance was locked in a meeting to prepare an agenda. Gyanendra fired the elected government in October 2002 accusing it of failure to govern Nepal and to end a bloody Maoist insurgency.

The meeting with the king would come on the second day of a three-day strike called by the rebels which has shut down the kingdom.

The Maoists, who are not affiliated with the opposition parties, want to turn the world's sole Hindu state into a secular, communist republic.

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