Govt to expand talks team ‘soon’

Kathmandu, May 23 :

The government is giving full shape to its talks-team “pretty soon,” a senior cabinet minister said today.

A decision to this effect was taken today in a meeting of the representatives of nine political parties — the seven-party alliance, Rastriya Prajatantra Party and the Rastriya Janashakti Party. Leaders taking part in the meeting suggested the government initiate dialogue with the Maoists at the earliest.

The nine political parties also formed a Talks Support and Suggestion Committee.

“Talks with the Maoists will begin soon, and it would soon reach a conclusion,” Home Minister Krishna Sitaula told media persons while emerging out of the meeting at the Peace Secretariat. Sitaula, who is heading the talks team, also conceded that the government is “in touch” with the Maoist leaders on the issue. Dr Prakash Chandra Lohani, who was a member of the government talks team during the Surya Bahadur Thapa-led government, said the committee suggested the government initiate dialogue immediately, besides holding preliminary discussions on the code of conduct for the talks.