Maoists ask Nepal government to speed up talks
Maoists have asked for a quick political resolution, failing which they have threatened to begin a peaceful but powerful campaign.Updated: Sep 02, 2006 13:01 IST
Accusing the government of succumbing to pressure from foreign powers and the palace to scuttle peace talks, Nepal's Maoist guerrillas have asked for a quick political resolution, failing which they have threatened to begin a peaceful but powerful campaign.
Alarmed at peace negotiations remaining stalled since June, the rebels have formed a 10-member team, headed by their chief Prachanda, to pressure the Girija Prasad Koirala government into holding the fourth round of parleys as soon as possible.
"We want the talks to be held within a week to 10 days," Maoist spokesman and former MP Krishna Bahadur Mahara told IANS. "The longer the talks are delayed, the greater is the danger of negotiations being scuttled."
The rebels have been growing increasingly wary after the disclosure that the government tried to obtain weapons from abroad despite engaging them in talks and agreeing not to expand the army or its arsenal as long as the ceasefire held.
While the Indian government last month blocked two bids by the Koirala government to fly in machine guns and missiles from Bulgaria via western India, Mahara says the army has been still able to get three arms shipments.
The Maoists also claim to have taken under their control an army commando who they alleged had been assigned to assassinate their leaders.
The Maoists have been accusing the US of trying to pressure Kathmandu into scuttling the talks as well as elections scheduled next year that would decide if King Gyanendra would retain his crown or become a commoner following the abolition of monarchy.
The next round of talks is expected to give the final shape to a new constitution and decide the fate of parliament.
According to the Maoist formula for peace, a new constitution should be installed and parliament dissolved to make way for an interim government in which they too would be included.
The new government will then begin preparing for the key election.
However, some parties in the coalition government, including Koirala, are opposing the dissolution of parliament, saying it would be foolhardy to do so as long as the Maoists refused to lay down arms.
"If the Maoists keep their arms, we need to keep parliament, which is our weapon," Koirala has said.
It has led to an impasse with the Maoists saying they would not surrender weapons till the election is held. However, they have offered to keep their arms and soldiers under the supervision of the UN.
First Published: Sep 02, 2006 12:51 IST