Govt stalling peace talks, alleges RPP

Kathmandu, February 22:

A senior leader of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) today said that the government was not creating a favourable environment for talks between King Gyanendra and the seven parties despite the monarch’s call for it.

“When the King had appealed for talks with parties, the government should not have rearrested political leaders,” said Jogmehar Shrestha of the RPP. He added that rather than splitting hairs over the wording of the King’s message on democracy day, political parties should be prepare for dialogue as this alone could sort out differences.

Stating that his party is always in favour of dialogue, Shrestha said, “Whatever the manner, the doors have opened for dialogue and reconciliation. Talks can certainly lead to understanding, and the RPP believes that monarchy and democracy can go together.”

Referring to the Maoists’ agenda of a “round table conference”, he said talks were necessary before such a conference.

“Otherwise, existing problems cannot be solved,” he added, speaking at an interaction of the Media Group. Gore Bahadur Khapangi of the Prajatantrik Janamukti Party said the King had opened the door for dialogue but the parties should also utilise the opportunity. “If the political parties and Maoists are ready to hold talks, they should sit at the same table,” said Khapangi. He however, added the “house arrest” of leaders was an administrative matter and should not be linked to the political will of the King to hold talks with the parties.

Anil Kumar Jha of Sadbhawana Anandidevi said the King’s appeal to hold talks with the parties holds no sincerity. Terming the King’s appeal as “sweet poison”, Jha added the statement would increase the people’s suffering. He said: “Even the Maoists are not demanding a republic. Prachhanda’s statement provides place for the monarch but why is the King then is not ready to go for a Constituent Assembly?”

Mohan Chandra Adhikari, advisor-member of CPN-UML, said that the parties should think how to utilise the King’s appeal. “The Maoists too want to hold talks, and all three — the King, the parties and Maoists, should seek a way out by utilising this opportunity,” said Adhikari.

Social worker Krishna Mahato also urged the parties to utilise the King’s appeal to resolve the turmoil.