The government is to send a letter to the United Nations requesting its help in managing and monitoring the weapons of both the government and rebel armies to ensure free and fair elections for constituent assembly (CA). This is part of Friday’s ice-breaking 8-point agreement between the SPA and the Maoists which has done away with much of the misunderstanding surrounding the relations between the two sides, as well as the political confusion and uncertainty. The country is now on course to the CA polls which alone will decide how the sovereign Nepalis want to carve out their future. Therefore,

the focus of both sides should be on contributing to free and fair polls and they should desist from doing anything that may aggravate mutual distrust. While both sides have agreed to resolve other differences through discussion, including the agreement to make decisions through consensus on issues of national importance having far-reaching implications, it does not behove them to make provocative public statements.

SPA leaders may have certain misgivings about one another. For example, some of them are

reported to have expressed reservations about what they describe as the failure of the Girija Prasad Koirala camp to consult them before the ground-breaking talks between the SPA and the Maoists. Even if there have been lapses, they should be ignored, keeping in mind the larger goals. The public knows how the changes in the country have been brought about. Any attempt by anybody to claim undeserved credit will go in vain. It is no longer necessary for the SPA and the Maoists to doubt each other’s sincerity by making public statements while they have already agreed on the political blueprint for the country. It is time for them to make a sound interim constitution, form a hope-inspiring interim government, and take other measures and sort out disputes through discussion and cooperation of all so that the CA polls are held in a free and fair manner and the question of arms management is properly addressed, a new democratic order is established and permanent peace is restored.

Whatever delay has been caused in moving forward the agenda of CA should not be repeated. For example, the members of the committee for drafting an interim statute within 15 days have yet to receive formal letters from the government, even though, thankfully, they have already started work. Leaders of the SPA should also avoid giving the impression that they were doing the Maoists a favour by showing ‘maximum flexibility’, nor should the Maoists demonstrate a similar attitude. Both have found a common ground in view of the various factors, internal and external, in lifting the country out of the morass of death, destruction and regression, and in heralding a new dawn.