Nepal frees Maoist prisoners, calls for talks | india | Hindustan Times
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Nepal frees Maoist prisoners, calls for talks

Govt said that it had freed 467 Maoists from prison and called on rebel leaders to join talks to help end a decade-long insurgency.

india Updated: May 25, 2006 15:42 IST

Nepal's government said on Thursday that it had freed 467 Maoists from prison and called on rebel leaders to join talks to help end a decade-long insurgency that has left more than 12,500 people dead.

Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula told reporters the government had finalised a three-man team that he will head for discussions with the Maoists about elections to a new body to rewrite the country's Constitution.

The head of the Maoist talks team told the agency on Tuesday they would only agree to talks once the government released up to 1,300 of their men held during the bitter decade-long struggle that has crippled the Himalayan nation.

"From the government side, we formally call on the Maoists to come to the negotiating table," said Sitaula after a cabinet meeting.

"We have already ordered the release of all Maoist detainees and so far we have released 467 detainees."

The Maoists have also demanded to know the fate of 569 "disappeared" members and Sitaula said the government had set up a commission that would investigate and report back in a month.