Nepal, Mainali stress need for early peace talks

Kathmandu, October 26:

UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal and United Left Front (ULF) leader and general secretary of the CPN-ML, CP Mainali, today held discussions on the peace process. The duo stressed the need to hold next round of talks at the earliest.

After the meeting held at the UML headquarters at Balkhu, Nepal and Mainali said they laid emphasis on holding the peace talks as soon as possible. “We discussed all the gamut of the peace process and agreed that the talks should not be delayed under any pretext,” Nepal said.

Nepal is learnt to have told all the alliance leaders, including PM Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist chairman Prachanda, about the necessity of holding talks by Sunday or Monday.

Mainali said they discussed the issues of arms management, referendum and possibility of forming a democratic republican front among the parties who are in favour of a democratic republic. Mainali said they also discussed the issue of a referendum to decide the fate of monarchy and added that it was a “considerable” proposal but it should not create hurdles in the upcoming talks.

“The ULF will not go against the concept of a referendum. But elections to constituent assembly is the primary issue,” Mainali said, adding that the issue of referendum was not mentioned in the 12 and eight-point agreement between the seven-party alliance and the Maoists.

He said the idea of forming a democratic republican front could be possible if all the leftist parties came up with a common programme on restructuring the state, citizenship issues and socio-economic transformation.

Mainali said other political issues could be settled amicably if the Maoists agreed on separating weapons from their fighters before assembly elections.

“If they are not ready to accept this proposal an alternative needs to be found out,” he said, adding that the upcoming talks could be decisive.