Talks team may iron out differences soon, say leaders; SPA a pendulum now: Hisila

Kathmandu, August 4:

Although the government and Maoist talks teams failed to come up with a concrete agreement yesterday, political leaders said both the parties will be able to sort out their differences and may send a joint letter to the United Nations next week.

The talks teams will probably come up with an agreement next week, said Nepali Congress leader Arjun Narsingh KC.

He, however, said that the peace process will not make progress unless the issue of arms management is resolved. KC was speaking at a programme organised by the Reporters Club here today.

“There is an ambience of mistrust between the government and the Maoists, which needs to be cleared,” he said, expressing concern over reported cases of extortion by the Maoists.

“I’ve heard that the government and the Maoists have reached an agreement and that they are planning to send a joint letter to the UN by Wednesday,” said NC (D) leader Khem Raj Bhatta Mayalu at a programme organised by the Reporters Club here today.

The United Nations team did its work here with utmost seriousness, he said. “We could not make the UN team’s visit meaningful because we failed to come up with an agreement,” said MP and Jana Morcha leader Pari Thapa.

Terming the issue of arms management ‘not that simple’, he called on the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) and the Maoists to discuss national security policies. “Nepali Army should be sent back to the barracks while the People’s Liberation Army should be kept in camps,” he said, adding that the country does not need huge defence forces.

CPN-UML leader Shankhar Pokharel suggested that the Maoists leaders who wish to join the interim government first disarm. Extensive discussions should be held on whether Maoist leaders such as Prachanda can become a part of the interim government as the chief of the People’s Liberation Army, he said. Demanding that the issue of an interim constitution be immediately addressed, he said the Maoists will not budge otherwise.

Stating that SPA has degenerated into a “pendulum”, Maoist leader Hisila Yami said only the “Liberation Army” was holding on in the fight for a republican order. “Both the armies will be reorganised once the nation becomes a republic,” she said, adding, “The Maoists are in favour of joining the government only to give full shape to this agenda.” Saying that Prime Minister Girija Prasas Koirala would have faced the same fate as that of Ang Sang Suu Kyi had the Maoist rebels not been around, she stressed the need to treat the rebel army and the national army on a par while writing to the UN.