Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, July 5:

President of the Nepali Congress (NC) Girija Prasad Koirala today denied he had a “secret meeting” with the Maoist brass in New Delhi, but said he is open to all options, including a constituent assembly, to resolve the crisis triggered by the Maoist insurgency. “Resolving the Maoist problem is my priority now,” Koirala told reporters on his arrival today at the Tribhuvan International Airport. He was on a week-long visit to India for “treatment”. Queried whether he had talks with the Maoist leaders in New Delhi, Koirala refuted “media speculations” saying: “I have announced in public that I will talk to them (the Maoists) openly. Besides, the party has given the mandate to me.” But he added that certain things should be kept secret. He refused to elaborate on the issue saying that sometimes such things mislead and disrupt progress. He also refused to say when he would initiate talks with the Maoists. The former prime minister also said he would not mind if the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government held talks with the Maoists. “But my party will not join the government,” he clarified.

Koirala was pleased to say that the “Indian leaders are equally concerned with the Maoist problem.” During his meeting with Indian leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, they said that the Maoist crisis was a “common problem” of both the countries and should be resolved with joint efforts, Koirala told reporters. The Indian leaders, according to Koirala, expressed their goodwill to the Nepali people. Koirala said that the national crises would be resolved once the Maoists are brought to the mainstream.