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Nepal unrest: King may speak soon, says Karan

On his return to New Delhi after talks with Gyanendra, India's special envoy said the meeting was "positive". Pics

india Updated: Apr 21, 2006 05:10 IST

India's special envoy to Nepal said on Thursday he was hopeful King Gyanendra would soon make an announcement to quell two weeks of bloody mass protests against the monarchy.

"I am optimistic. I am hopeful that the King will make an announcement shortly," Karan Singh told reporters on his return to New Delhi after talks with Gyanendra in Kathmandu. "The ball is in the King's court."

Singhsaid his meeting with the King earlier on Thursday was "positive" and the monarch's "attitude was good."

Singh carried a message from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has called on Nepal's royal government to defuse the violence.

During his two-day stay, Singh also held talks with leaders of political groups who have allied with Maoist rebels to pressure the King to restore democracy after he assumed absolute power 14 months ago.

"We are deeply concerned over the difficulties of the people of Nepal that have seen economic difficulties and political difficulties and a general breakdown of law and order," envoy Singh said.

Police shot dead three people and wounded scores more Thursday as tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators defied shoot-on-sight curfew orders in the Nepalese capital.

"The Special Envoy has stressed the need for genuine dialogue between the constitutional forces in Nepal, with the objective of urgently restoring multi-party democracy," the Indian embassy in Kathmandu said in a statement earlier.

This would "overcome the crisis that Nepal is faced with."

Karan Singh "conveyed India's readiness to support all efforts towards this end while emphasising that a lasting solution to the problems of Nepal has to be found by the people of Nepal through a peaceful political process," the statement said.

The crisis has caused "deep concern" in neighbouring India, it added.

First Published: Apr 20, 2006 19:10 IST