Informal talks with Mahantha Thakur to continue

Kathmandu, October 1

A three-member talks team formed by the three major parties held informal talks with Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Chair Mahantha Thakur in an attempt to prepare the ground for formal talks between the government/major parties and protesting parties but the talks were inconclusive.

Unified CPN-Maoist negotiator Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the three parties’ talks team urged Thakur to change the mode of protest in order to prepare the ground for formal talks. “We told him that the protesting parties could continue their protest during the formal talks but we urged them not to resort to blockade,” Shrestha said.

He added that Thakur told him that first the major parties and the government should meet the protesting parties’ demands.

“Thakur was non-committal,” Shrestha said when asked how he responded to three major parties’ request to ease blockade on the border.

CPN-UML negotiator Agni Kharel said a meeting of the top leaders of the three major parties held this morning had instructed the talks team to show flexibility with the protesting parties and they held talks with Thakur in the same spirit. Kharel said the three parties had also instructed the talks team to seek protesting parties’ commitment that they would withdraw their blockade before formal talks were held.

Kharel said the talks team told Thakur that the three parties were thinking positively on the United Democratic Madhesi Front’s conditions for talks, such as providing compensation to the families of those killed in protest, free treatment to those who were injured and withdrawal of cases against the protesters, but the UDMF should also withdraw the blockade on the entry points on Nepal-India border.

“We told Thakur that the blockade of the protesting forces has created a situation that could adversely affect bilateral relations between the two countries,” he said and added that both sides needed to show flexibility.

Kharel said all the negotiators personally believed in negotiated settlement of issues between the political forces and he was confident that the issues would be resolved amicably. Kharel said both sides needed to hold more informal talks before sitting for formal talks and decided to sit for informal talks with Thakur tomorrow again. The talks team would also hold dialogue with protesting Tharu forces tomorrow.


Cabinet to address concerns

KATHMANDU: A Cabinet meeting held on Thursday in Singha Durbar decided to withdraw lawsuits filed against protesters in Tarai region except those related to serious crimes and smoothly implement the decision of providing Rs 10 lakhs to each family that lost a member during the course of movement of Madhes-based parties.

Minister for Information and Communications Minendra Rijal said in return the agitating parties would have to end blockade, strikes and violent protests. The Cabinet also decided to provide free treatment to the injured protesters.