Next round of talks before Tihar, say leaders

Kathmandu, October 16:

Leaders of the seven-party alliance said today that the next round of high-level talks between the alliance and the Maoists would be held before the festival of Tihar.

They conceded that two issues — fate of monarchy and arms management — were the major hurdles that prevented the government and the Maoists from reaching an agreement in Sunday’s talks.

Nepali Congress (NC) leader Arjun Narsingh KC said: “The next round of peace talks will be held before Tihar and all the issues will be resolved within a month.”

KC said his party would not come under what he said “external pressures” on any issue.

“NC is clear that the fate of monarchy should be decided through an election to a constituent assembly,” he said at the Reporters’ Club, adding that the NC not only wants to see a king without any rights but also a king “without any resource”. KC was of the view that deciding the fate of monarchy through a referendum was to give a sort of recognition to the monarchy.

CPN-UML leader Jhalanath Khanal said his party was ready to give some time to NC to decide in favour of a referendum. “But the NC should make the decision at the earliest,” Khanal said.

He, however, did not rule out alternatives to it. He said that the talks were moving ahead in a positive direction.

Dr Minendra Rijal of NC-D urged the Maoists to give up their “pride of arms” while saying that the they cannot compromise at the cost of people’s sovereignty, peace and democracy.

Citing “ill treatment” of journalists by the Maoists on Sunday, Rijal said: “How can we be assured that the constituent assembly polls can be free and fair?” He expressed the optimism that the ongoing peace talks would yield positive results.

Pari Thapa of Janamorcha Nepal, said the issue of monarchy and lack of ample homework were the reasons behind the failure to reach an understanding in Sunday’s talks.

Meanwhile a RSS report from Bhaktapur said the first meeting between the government talks team, Maoist talks team and the United Nations team was held at Bhaktapur today.

During the meeting, the government and Maoist talks teams apprised the United Nations team of the progress made so far in the summit talks held between the seven party alliance and the CPN-Maoist.

At the tripartite meeting held at Bhaktapur Guest House, chief of the UN team Ian Martin and other members shared about the international turn of events on the Maoists’ army, arms management and its monitoring process, said the government talks team.

Govt working to restore peace: Oli

Jhapa: Deputy PM and minister for foreign affairs KP Sharma Oli said on Monday that the government is working to strengthen democracy and establish lasting peace in the country. Speaking at a programme in Birtamod, Oli said the government has been closely observing the Maoist acts of collection of donation, tax and other activities.

The government aims at establishing lasting peace early on and give an appropriate outlet to all aggrieved sides in the existing situation in the country, said Oli, adding that though the king is limited to the palace now there is a need to bring an ordinance on monarchy. — HNS