Talks with rebels likely next week: Khanal

Kathmandu, August 22 :

The seven-party alliance (SPA) and the Maoists are expected to sit for summit talks next week, CPN-UML leader Jhal Nath Khanal said at a programme organised at the Reporters’ Club today. The two sides are expected to iron out the differences and come up with logical solutions to the ongoing political deadlock.

“I hope we will be able to reach a consensus and sort out the ongoing political differences through talks. There is an air of mistrust and dissatisfaction among the eight political forces,” he said.

Stressing the need to set up an alternative mechanism to the Parliament, he said: “Once the alternative mechanism to Parliament is set up, the latter will be dissolved automatically.”

“It is for the people to decide through the elections to a Constituent Assembly the fate of the ceremonial monarchy,” he said.

Accusing the government of disrupting the peace process already, Maoist leader Dev Gurung, however, said: “The talks team representing the government is serious about making the ongoing dialogue successful.

We hope that the talks will see success.”

Accusing the government and “certain political leaders” of conspiring to secure a place for ceremonial monarchy in the country, he said “they were busy negotiating with the king on the matter.”

“Yesterday’s informal government-Maoist talks dwelt on the issues of arms management and interim constitution,” he said, adding that the implementation of the agreements reached between the SPA and the Maoists was also taken up. “We reiterated out commitment to the agreements but rights violations are unavoidable sometimes. However, we are ready to bring to book our people if they are found guilty of rights violations,” he said.

Commenting on the furore over fuel price hike, Khanal criticised the government for “failing to do its job”. The government should have at least done its homework prior to hiking the fuel price, he said, calling on the government to take responsibility for its action.

However, he also expressed concern over the protest staged by the Nepal Petroleum Dealers Association’s against the government decision to roll back the price hike.

Leader of the Nepal Sadbhawana Party (Ananda Devi) Rajendra Mahato ruled out the possibility of the party seeking the resignation of its party leader Hridayesh Tripathi, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies, on the matter. “I don’t see any possibility of the party demanding Tripathi’s resignation,” he said.