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Nepal Govt, Maoists hold talks on future politics

Nepal government and the Maoists on Friday sat face-to-face for the talks for the first time after the two rounds of parleys between both sides failed in 2001 and 2003 respectively.

india Updated: May 27, 2006 03:15 IST

Three weeks after the GP Koirala-led multi-party alliance came to power, the Nepal government and Maoists on Friday had their first round of talks and finalized a 25-point of conduct to end the decade-old rebel insurgency and agreed to hold early Constituent Assembly elections.

"The talks were held in a very cordial atmosphere and we can now move towards the Constituent Assembly in a short period," Home Minister Krishna Sitoula, leading the government delegation at the talks, told reporters after six hours of talks at a luxurious resort at Gokarna in eastern Kathmandu.

"The talks will lead to forward-looking outlay and restore sustainable peace in the country", he said.

"We have agreed to the main political agenda of holding constituent assembly elections. We have agreed to hold constituent assembly elections in the very first dialogue, which never happened in the past," said Maoist chief negotiator Krishna Bahadur Mahara.

"This time, the talks are being held in a different atmosphere mainly due to two reasons, the popular movement and t he 12-point understanding reached with the Seven Party Alliance," he said.

Sitoula and Mahara said the two sides agreed to follow the 25-point code of conduct as they continue talks.

No date has been set for the next round of peace talks but the two sides said it would take place soon.

Both teams had three members each representing the talks. Other members of the Government's team are Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Pradip Gyawali and Minister of State for Labour and Transport Ramesh Lekhak.

Besides Mahara, the Maoist team has Dinanath Sharma and Dev Gurung as members.

This was the first formal meeting between the two sides after the Girija Prasad Koirala government came to power last month following a 19-day agitation by the seven-party alliance that forced King Gyanendra to give up his 14-month absolute rule.

Nepal government and the Maoists on Friday sat face-to-face for the talks for the first time after the two rounds of parleys between both sides failed in 2001 and 2003 respectively.

Prime Minister Koirala and Mahara met earlier in the day and decided to kick-start the peace talks.

Mahara called on Koirala at his official residence and the two sides agreed to start the dialogue, sources said.

"Since the country's fate and future is linked to the talks, the government is working seriously to make it successful," Gyawali said before the talks began.

Lekhak earlier said "this time the talks will be held in a cordial atmosphere and in a serious manner. We want a dialogue that is result oriented."

This round of talks will lays the ground for a final round of negotiations between the Prime Minister and Maoist Chairman Prachanda.

First Published: May 27, 2006 03:15 IST