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Nepal, Maoists miss Govt deadline but say peace on track

The two sides missed a deadline for forming an interim government but said that the seven-month-old peace process was on track.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2006 14:48 IST

Nepal's government and Maoist rebels missed a deadline on Friday for forming an interim government but said the seven-month-old peace process was on track.

The two sides must complete the drafting of a temporary constitution before the rebels can join the government.

"Intensive discussions are being held with the Maoists to finalize the interim constitution.

The Maoists will join the government only after the constitution is formulated," said Pradeep Gyawali, a government negotiator.

"The peace process is moving forward very smoothly. We are hoping to give final shape to the interim constitution as soon as possible," he added.

Under a November 8 agreement, the two sides agreed a new parliament would be formed by November 26, and an interim government would be formed by Friday.

All deadlines, however, have been missed amid what both sides have conceded was an ambitious timetable that did not take into account the preparation time needed.

"We have failed to meet the deadline, but the peace process is progressing," Krishna Bahadur Mahara, a Maoist rebel negotiator said.

The interim constitution should be finished "within a week," Mahara said.

Earlier this month, the government and rebels concluded a landmark deal ending the rebels' decade-long "people's war" to topple the monarchy and install a communist republic in the impoverished Himalayan nation.

The Maoists have said they are willing to join the political mainstream and take part in multi-party politics.

The two sides have also signed a deal mandating the United Nations to monitor the Maoists' weapons and army.

Nepal's civil war, which began in 1996 has claimed at least 12,500 lives.

The new parliament will oversee elections to a special assembly that will frame a new permanent Constitution, which will decide among other things the fate of Nepal's monarchy.

First Published: Dec 01, 2006 14:48 IST