Decisive talks will be held very soon, says Dy PM Sherchan

Kathmandu, November 4:

Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Amik Sherchan said today that the next round of peace talks, which would be held pretty soon, “possibly within a day or two”, would yield positive outcome.

Sherchan said the talks would be result-oriented and that they would resolve all the remaining crises dogging the country.

Sherchan was speaking at a blood donation programme organised jointly by Bhaktapur FM 105.4 MHz and the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (Bhaktapur chapter).

Sherchan said only talks would bring an end to all the problems. He said the government was making every effort to make the talks successful.

“The main focus has been on the arms management, which has been an obstacle to the peace process,” he said. The next and possibly the final round of peace talks will be held soon, Gopal Man Shrestha, Minister for Physical Planning and Works, said here today. Agreements will be reached between all eight political parties in the final round of talks, he claimed.

“I cannot give the exact date for the talks but I assure that this time around the dialogue will be final and conclusive,” said Shrestha. On a similar line, Nepali Congress leader Dr Ram Baran Yadav said the talks “will be held in a week,” for which adequate homework is ongoing.

The major obstacle to the ongoing dialogue is the Maoists’ disagreement to lay down arms, said Shrestha.

He pointed out that progressive democratic parties will jointly form a democratic front prior to the elections to a Constituent Assembly (CA).

“Regressive democratic parties are welcome in the democratic front but regressive parties like Rastriya Prajatantra Party led by Rabindranath Sharma and Nepal Sadbhavana Party led by Badri Mandal will not be included in the front,” he added.

He further said that he is for a socialist republic and not a communist republic. He expressed pessimism regarding a referendum on monarchy.

As monarchy will be active following a referendum, it is a bad idea to go for it, he said. Instead, he suggested that King Gyanendra be declared Nepal’s last King as well as first and

last president as a King since it will be the monarchy’s graceful exit as an institution. “The King will not leave the palace just because eight political parties strike an agreement stamping the end of the monarchy,” he added.

Yadav, on the other hand, said: “Let’s not get entangled on the issue of monarchy. The King can be sidelined with a strong democracy.”

President of the Nepali Congress (Democratic) Sher Bahadur Deuba said today that the election to the constituent assembly cannot be held until people are rid of the terror of weapons.

Deuba was inaugurating the western regional and Bagmati zonal two-day party workers’ training in Pokhara today.

Deuba said: “No election can be held as long the terror of Maoists’ weapons holds sway in the villages.”

Saying that Maoists’ idea of locking up weapons with a single key implied that they want to keep their weapons with them, Deuba said the Maoists’ weapons should be locked up with the keys of the eight political parties, including the Maoists, under the inspection of the United Nations before the elections to a Constituent Assembly (CA).

“It is being said that CA elections will be held within the next six months. How can the elections be held freely when cadres of different parties are unable to go to villages to work for organisational extension of their party, the displaced are unable to return to their villages and the terror of Maoists still pervades the villages?” asked Deuba. Saying that NC (D) was for party unification, Deuba said if the two Congress parties are unified in a mutually respectable manner it would strengthen the Nepali Congress party.

Central member of the NC (D), Minendra Rijal, said the future of monarchy should be decided in a democratic way, adding that the constituent assembly was the democratic route for the same.

Meanwhile, NC central member Sujata Koirala said in Gaighat today that as the fate of monarchy would be decided after CA elections, it would be meaningless to hold a referendum on the issue.

Speaking at a programme, she said: “If attempts were made to take a decision on monarchy through a referendum, palace’s activities would gain momentum and that would lead to chaos in the country.”