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Nepali Congress formally goes republic
Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, Sept 26 - A day the party unification, the Nepali Congress (NC) Tuesday took another historic decision: To opt for a federal democratic republic.
The NC Maha Samiti meeting ended Tuesday afternoon at the party headquarters at Sanepa in Lalitpur district formally endorsing the political proposal tabled by party General Secretary Ram Chandra Poudel during yesterday’s meeting.
The decision is a break away from the party’s policy of constitutional monarchy, which it had religiously adhered to since its inception back in 1947.
The eight-page long political proposal stated that establishment of a “federal republican state with inclusive and fully democratic rule is the overarching goal of the Nepali Congress.”
The party has concluded that the monarchy and democracy cannot go together since the monarchy is based on authoritarianism and violence and has always disregarded democracy.
The proposal also calls for the socioeconomic management based on justice and progress and unity on the issue of maintaining goodwill among the Nepali people.
The party leadership was facing mounting pressure from its activists to opt for a federal democratic republic.
Major parties including the CPN-UML and the Maoists have welcomed the NC’s decision.
Lauding the NC’s decision to opt for a federal democratic republic, Maoist spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara, however, urged the party “to put the decision to practice.”
“The decision should not be limited to a slogan,” Mahara said. “It has to be institutionalized.”
Endorses electoral manifesto, too
Today’s Maha Samiti meeting also endorsed the party’s electoral manifesto for the upcoming Constituent Assembly elections, which, inter alias, proposes that the head of state in a future republic should be elected by members of the central and provincial legislatures through a democratic process.
The party proposed this provision in its draft manifesto tabled at yesterday’s Maha Samiti meeting of the unified NC, so that the institution would be able to represent the linguistic, ethnic, cultural and religious diversity of the country.
"Symbol of national unity will not be a person or a position but an inclusive constitutional federal democratic system adopted by us," the manifesto added.
Stating that the mandate of Jan Andolan- 2 was to end absolute monarchy and establish a complete democracy with people as the sovereign power, the NC manifesto further stated that the only way to fulfill the mandate is by conducting elections to a constituent assembly and establishing people's ownership of the constitution.
The party has also proposed that Nepal be a federal democratic republic with the guarantee of all democratic rights and freedoms.
Today’s Maha Samiti meeting has also urged the party’s founder leader and former Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai to reconsider his decision to quit the party, citing the party’s decision to opt for a republic.
Only yesterday, Bhattarai had attended the NC unification function for the first time after the party split five years and three months ago.
In a two-page long hand-written letter addressed to the NC president and the Maha Samiti members, the octogenarian leader has complained that the party was forgetting (founders) BP Koirala and Ganesh Man Singh in the name of federal democratic republic.
The unified NC had offered him the post of the party’s second-in-command.
The NC's decision in favour of a republic could also help defuse the prevailing political stand-off between the seven parties and the Maoists stemming from the latter’s insistence on the declaration of a republic ahead of the CA elections.
Only yesterday, Maoist Chairman Prachanda and Home Minister and NC leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula have agreed to issue a joint statement expressing commitment of the eight parties to declare the country a republic, a source said.
“The parties are discussing a commitment proposal on a republic through parliament after the top leaders reach an agreement,” the source added
Calls for restoration of democracy in Pakistan, Myanmar
Meanwhile, today’s session of the NC Maha Samiti also passed a proposal tabled by party general secretary Bimalendra Nidhi, which called for immediate restoration of democracy in Pakistan and Myanmar.
The proposal also sought early solution to the festering Bhutanese refugee imbroglio.
More than 100,000 refugees of Nepali-origin are languishing at seven UNHRC-administered camps in Morang and Jhapa districts in eastern Nepal since 1990. They were systematically evicted from their ancestral homes in southern Bhutan as part of the ongoing ethnic cleansing drive of the totalitarian regime in Thimphu.
Posted on: 2007-09-26 07:39:32 (Server Time)


Maoists formally dissolve people's governments, courts

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, Jan 18 - Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has said that it has dissolved all its "people's governments" and "people's courts" across the country.
In a statement issued Thursday, Maoist Chairman Prachanda said that all levels of local governments run by his party were dissolved as per the agreement reached with the governments in the past.

Directing his party workers to support the coalition interim government to be formed in the near future, Prachanda said, "The people's government and the courts established in the past have been formally dissolved in the context of the historic development of January 15."

On January 15, the reinstated House of Representatives was dissolved and the interim legislature formed after the House unanimously passed the Interim Constitution, allowing the former rebels to enter parliament.


Maoists start party hospital


URLABARI, MORANG, Sept 1 - Maoists have started a party hospital at Mangalbare of Urlabari in Morang district.
The hospital which the party runs "for providing health services to its cadres and general people at affordable prices" has been named as Public Health Hospital Mechi Koshi Bureau.

The six-bed hospital provides emergency and OPD services where 10 doctors from Koshi Zonal Hospital, Birat Nursing Home and Amda Hospital Damak are working. It also provides services relating to ear, nose, throat, heart, child diseases, gynecology, orthopedics and general physiology. The patients with complications are often referred to hospitals in Biratnagar, Dharan and Damak.

The Maoists started the hospital with permission from its central leadership. However, they do not follow the legal procedures necessary to run a hospital. "No law can stop us from serving people," said Navin, in-charge of the hospital, adding that legal procedures would not be hindrances for providing health services to general people at affordable price. He claimed that all the services are provided in minimal rate except for major operations.

It provides free health services to patients from poor families while it charges Rs 125 to other patients, according to Navin. Doctors in private clinics in the area charge 200 rupees for the service.

The hospital provides 10 percent concession on medicines and 50 percent discount for X-ray's and lab tests, according to "Jeev", an employee at the hospital. The rebels are also operating a pharmacy within the hospital where 25 patients arrive for the services every day on an average.

The rebels are running the hospital with the support of logistics that they had been using to cure their cadres during the insurgency, according to Maoists. "We arranged other necessary materials from our well-wishers and donors," said Navin.

Maoists are going to organize a nationwide-convention of the medicos close to the party on October 31 and November 1 in Nepalgunj. The convention will finalize policies on hospital operation, said the rebels.


Floods, landslide cripple life in western Nepal; Achham villagers safe
Kantipur Report
KATHMANDU, Aug 28 - Life in several districts in western Nepal was crippled due to floods and landslides on the second consecutive day on Monday.

At least 74 people in a village nearby the Rapti River in Banke district are still missing and that no any rescue team has been able to reach the site.
Some 55 people in 35 houses are still out of contact at Fattepur in Banke district.
At least seven people were killed in floods in Bardiya, Banke and Nawalparasi on Sunday.
Similarly, nine VDCs in Nawalparasi have been inundated whereas in Kailali 100s of acres of land is swamped by floods. Hundreds of acres of paddy fields have been inundated owing to the heavy rainfall in the last one week.
'Achham villagers safe'
Police at the District Police Office at Mangalsen, Achham said that most of the villagers whose state was unknown after massive mudslide struck Khaptada VDC's Balyalta village in the district on early Sunday morning.
After 24 hours of massive landslides resulting from incessant torrential downpour, the rescue teams from the District Administration Office, Red Cross and security forces reached incident site this morning and carried out rescue operations.

Though earlier reports said that state of dozens of people was unknown in the landslide areas, only eight people have gone missing, according to Inspector Upendra Purush Timilsena of Achham.
Reports received from the Khaptad VDC said that ward no 5 and 6 of Bayalta were swamped by landslide debris following the incessant downpour for the last two days. Nearly 90 houses of these two wards were damaged in the massive landslide.
A resident of a village which is two-hour-walk away from Balyalta told our Mahendranagar correspondent Chitrang Thapa over the phone that he saw the "huge" flow of landslide debris in Balyalta village sweeping away at least five houses, 57 cowsheds, dozens of cattle and livestock.
It takes eight long hours to reach Balyalta from district headquarters Mangalsen.
The VDCs Devisthan, Budhathok, Siddheswor including the Small Hydro Electricity Project in the Babala VDC were affected by the landslide.
A team of 55 army personnel from Nepal Army's 5 No barracks in Kailali is on the site to carry out rescue operation. It was also informed that the forces at Doti, Accham, Bajura and Kailali are kept on high alert to provide any kind of help as and when needed.
Of the 10,000 displaced people due to flooding in Bardiya, some 3,000 people have been kept at public schools, campuses and gonernment-owned buildings at the district headquarters—Gelariya.
About 300 houses in Kailali were inundated by the floods and crops at hundreds of hectors of field have been spoiled.
Nearly 200 people have been rescued at Holiya while 400 people were rescued by the Indian security forces and taken to Laxmanpur, India.
Two FM radio stations in Nepalgunj stopped their operations after floodwater entered the station today.
At least 25 houses were destroyed by the landslide in Sampara VDC-8 of Bajura district.
Meanwhile, a parliamentary team led by Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula visited the landslide and floods affected areas and acquired information this afternoon.
The team with relief materials to the victims also includes rescue experts



Foreign experts keen to support Nepal in new constitution


NEW DELHI, Aug 17 - A German government foundation and several experts have shown keen interest in Nepal's peace process, constitution building and sharing of expertise in reintegrating of armed forces along the lines of reunion of Germany.
"On the issue of reintegration of the government and the rebel armies in Nepal and on a number of other areas we would be happy to share our experiences," J. Wolf an official with New Delhi-based Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF) under Germany's international development programme.

He was speaking at a seminar on 'Evolving Contours of a New Constitution in Nepal' here Thursday.

Echoing the sentiment of a number of friendly countries such as Norway, Switzerland, who have shown their willingness to assist Nepal in the ongoing peace and reconciliation process, Wolf added, "Let us know what we can do."

To begin with, KAF in collaboration with New Delhi-based Society for Peace Security and Development Studies are also planning to organize a round table conference involving all stakeholders of Nepal in the run-up to the Constituent Assembly elections in Nepal.

Although it has been decided that the venue will be Kathmandu, the organizers are currently soliciting advice on participants and date.

Dwelling on the complexities of constitution building, noted Indian constitutional expert, Subash C Kashyap, who was also involved in revising the Indian Constitution, noted that one of the merits of Nepal's 1990 constitution was that it had secured the role for "monarch as an integrating force".

"But now monarchy has been discredited by the people," he said. Yet, he suggested that the people of Nepal retained a "ceremonial role" for that force which can integrate Nepal's multi-ethnic and multi-lingual structure as a single force.

He also suggested Nepal to go for "a multi-layer federal system of governance based on the bottom-up model with decentralization of power to the people at the grassroots."

A Nepali expert, Professor BBS Kansakar, didn't appreciate Kashyap's suggestion about the future role for monarchy. He suggested Nepal's foreign friends to only make suggestions and hoped that the people will decide about the fate of monarchy either through a referendum or the Constituent Assembly.

Human rights defender from Nepal, Dr Gopal Krishna Siwakoti suggested that the parties to the conflict start demobilization by demolishing the 33 percent or so under-18 minor soldiers or militias under the rebel forces.

Professor Mahendra P Lama at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) observed that the ongoing peace process has provided a "golden opportunity" to bridge the widening socio-economic and class-based disparities in Nepal, which are considered as the root causes of the conflict. He also criticized the Maoists for being "less of an ideological force".

Yubaraj Ghimire, Editor of Samay magazine, said the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) government and the Maoists both continue to lack sincerity in taking the peace process forward. He criticized the two sides for being unfocussed while sending the recent five-point letter seeking UN intermediation for arms and election monitoring. Such ambivalence, he warned, could threaten the peace process itself.

Former Indian diplomat L.L. Mehrotra suggested that the forthcoming Constituent Assembly be represented in all respects and said that India will keenly observe the constitution-building exercise in Nepal for a simple reason that "India's security depends on Nepal's security in an integrated view of South Asia." Also sharing their views were several other Indian academics, experts and journalists.


Prachanda meets Koirala; Sitaula says common understanding near

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, Aug 2 - Maoist Chairman Prachanda and Prime Minister Girija
Prasad Koirala have held talks on current political issues at the latter's
residence, a Maoist source said.
According to the source, Maoist supremo Prachanda and PM Koirala during the
meeting on Wednesday evening held discussions on several issues including
arms management of both the state and rebels.

The meeting of two top leaders comes a day ahead of the possible common
understanding, likely to be reached between the seven-party government and
the rebels, regarding arms management of the state and the Maoists.

Earlier today, Home Minister and head of the three-member government talks
team, Krishna Prasad Sitaula said that a common understanding will be
reached with the Maoists regarding arms management on Thursday, the day that
the visiting seven-member high-level UN team led by Stafan de Mistura leaves
for New York.

"Both sides are keen on reaching a common understanding to present a concept
on the issue of arms management to the UN team before they leave," Home
Minister Sitaula said prior to an unofficial meeting between the government
and the Maoist talks teams with the Interim-Constitution Drafting Committee
at the Peace Secretariat today.

Admitting that the government was holding meetings with various political
parties and civil societies, Sitaula claimed that the UN mission will not
return without any results.

The UN team which arrived here on July 27 for a seven-day visit to the
country to assess the UN’s role in resolving the decade-long conflict is
leaving on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Coordinator of the rebel talks team and Spokesperson Krishna
Bahadur Mahara revealed that the government and the Maoists had not even
reached the "minimum level of understanding" for arms management.

"The Maoists army will not be abandoning the weapons before the Constituent
Assembly elections,” Mahara told the press claiming that the rebel army will
stay in specific locations in accordance to the code of conduct.

The CPN-Maoist has already revealed its concept over the issue and the
Maoist army will stay as mentioned in the upcoming constitution, the rebel
spokesperson said.

Likewise, another member of the government talks team Ramesh Lekhak stressed
on the necessity for both the Maoists and government to concur over the
issue of arms management adding that another government-Maoist talks team
meeting will be decided after a meeting with PM Koirala.


BIRATNAGAR, June 14 - Prime Minister and President of the Nepali Congress, Girija Prasad Koirala has said that the king should be given a ceremonial role. Arguing that all forces should get appropriate space for a lasting peace to arrive in the country, PM Koirala said, "This is why I have been putting forward my view to keep a ceremonial king."

Addressing a gathering of party activists at his residence here in his hometown Biratnagar Wednesday morning, PM Koirala said that the Nepali Congress was moving ahead on the agenda of making the king ceremonial and bringing the Maoists and the seven parties into the democratic stream.

Hinting at the monarchy, Koirala said if not provided with some room, any force could opt for an "unpleasant path" due to the resulting frustration. "That's why we have been saying that the king should be made ceremonial," he said.

Saying that all (forces) needed to be given some space in the transition phase, Koirala said if all sides are not given some room in democracy, it leads to disappointment and unpleasant incidents may take place, adding, "Anything could be done once the transition period was over."

All parties have been given some room in the transition phase and the Maoists, too, are carrying out their activities for the same reason, Koirala said.

Expressing optimism over the peace talks with the Maoists, the prime minister, however, said that arms management was an issue of "concern".

"We asked the Maoists not to collect donations; they issued a statement," PM Koirala said, "They (Maoists) said they are concerned about feeding their army."

Informing that the government had talked to the United Nations regarding providing food to the Maoist army, Koirala said, "The UNO will assist; the Maoists, too, should provide information about the number, position and state of their army."

Expressing commitment to give space to the Maoists in the democratic mainstream, Koirala said that his party would put forth its stand on the agenda of constituent assembly and federal governance system on the negotiating table itself. "If everything is said before the negotiation, it will destroy the environment for talks. Therefore certain things should be made clear only on the negotiating table," he said, adding, "We should give solution if they (Maoists) are facing difficulty."

Koirala said that "it may take some time before the armed Maoist cadres return to the peaceful way of life even if the Maoist leaders agree to return to the mainstream peaceful politics."

He also informed that he would accomplish the task of the reunion of the Nepali Congress and Nepali Congress-Democratic "before retiring from life."

Koirala arrived in Biratnagar on Tuesday. This is his first visit to his hometown after he became prime minister.


Tens of thousands attend Maoist mass meet in capital

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, June 2 - Tens of thousands of people assembled at the Khulla Manch in Kathmandu to attend the mass-meet of the Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist (CPN-M) on Friday.
The entire Tundikhel, Bhotahity, Ratna Park areas and the areas in front of Bir Hospital were jam-packed with people.

People from within and outside the capital assembled to attend the much-publicized mass meet, on a public holiday in the Kathmandu valley to mark the religious festival of Bhote Jatra.

Coordinator of the Maoist team for the government-Maoist talks, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, other members of the rebel team Dinanath Sharma, Dev Gurung, central member Pampha Bhusal, deputy commander of the Maoists' Peoples' Liberation Army (PLA), Prabhakar, and leaders Agni Sapkota , Lekh Nath Neupane and Pawan Kumar Shrestha addressed the gathering.

Addressing the mass-meet, the Maoist leaders said the people's movement would continue until the "ultimate goal" was achieved.

Terming the reinstatement of the House of Representatives (HoR) as a "betrayal,” the rebel leaders repeated their stand on the HoR not being able to meet the "esteemed goals" of the historic people's movement.

Maoist spokesperson Mahara blamed the seven-party government for sticking to its “old agenda” after the reinstatement of the House of Representatives.

“Our party had objected to the move to reinstate the old House which has no relevance in the present context, as it doesn’t represent the aspirations of the popular mass movement,” said Mahara, adding, “The seven parties are trying to move ahead with their own agenda, which is unacceptable to us.”

Mahara, who is also the head of the rebel negotiating team, said that his party is still appealing to the seven parties to “withdraw their stance and join the talks to translate the people’s wishes.”

He also claimed that the people have accepted the Maoists to take up the leadership in the political mainstream.

The mass broke into fervent clapping whenever the speakers expressed their commitment to peace or spoke against the erstwhile royal regime.

Another leader Dinanath Sharma said that his party Chairman Prachanda should lead Nepali politics in the coming days. “We cannot say that our chairman comrade Prachanda will lead Nepali politics for the time being, but we want to assure you that the day has come for him to take up the responsibility for the sake of the nation,” Sharma said.

Maoist women’s leader Pampha Bhusal said that “the government to be formed next should give emphasis on women’s empowerment and bring about a revolution in guaranteeing women’s rights.”

Today's meet, which remained peaceful, was by far the biggest after the latest truce was agreed.

Earlier, the rebels had conducted a similar meet on 3rd April 2003.


Nepal urges Maoists to drop extortion practices

Kantipur Report

BIRATNAGAR, May 28 - CPN-UML General Secretary, Madhav Kumar Nepal on Sunday urged the Maoist rebels to drop the practice of use of force to extort money to manage its army.
Speaking at a programme in Biratnagar, Nepal today claimed that the government could provide aid to the rebels if they stopped extortions from the people.

"The government can ask for funds from international donors to help the Maoists army," Nepal said.

Hinting at the Maoists' demand of dissolution of the recently reinstated House of Representatives (HoR), Nepal also said that dissolving the newly revived House would be suicidal before any political outcome is achieved.

"The House has to be there until another reliable institution with public representation is setup," he said.

The Maoists have been saying that the present House and the government should be dissolved before forming an interim government and constitution to go for constituent assembly elections.

The government and Maoists, in their first round of peace talks on Friday, announced the 25-point Code of Conduct governing the cease-fire announcements so as to ensure a violence-free environment.

They agreed that donations and financial assistance in cash, kind or service shall not be collected and mobilized against anyone's will.Both sides agreed to invite credible national and international monitoring teams to oversee the ceasefire and compliance to the Code of Conduct.

According to the Code of Conduct, the government and the Maoists have agreed to stop new recruitment in their armies and to refrain from strikes in industries and educational institutions.


SPA-Maoist talks on, outcomes within four days: Khanal

NEW DELHI, March 12 - A Seven Party Alliance (SPA) leader involved in secret negotiations with Maoist rebels in New Delhi said on Sunday that the alliance leaders are hopeful about positive outcomes of the talks, which would be made public in about four days' time.
"Let me not disclose the technicalities of the talks and the persons involved, but all I can say is that talks are going in the positive direction," CPN-UML leader Jhala Nath Khanal said. "Both sides are currently working to uphold the 12-point understanding the SPA and the CPN-Maoist reached in November."
He added that the SPA negotiators have also urged the rebels to withdraw indefinite blockade and Nepal Bandh and declare ceasefire to pave the way for peaceful movement for the restoration of democracy. However, the Maoist leadership, whose high command is understood to be discussing the proposals, has not responded yet.
Khanal, who was flanked by UML heavyweight Bam Dev Gautam and leader Pramesh Hamal at the Nepal Center, Yusuf Sarai, Sunday morning, also said the mission of the SPA was to find a "consensual and peaceful exit to the conflict bedevilling the nation". "We are working very hard, and the outcomes should be there in the next three-four days," he said.
Gautam, who is also suffering from back pain, didn't want to comment on the ongoing negotiations, but concurred with Khanal.
Beside the three UML leaders, other SPA negotiators who are currently in Delhi include: Nepali Congress leaders Krishna Sitaula, Mahantha Thakur and Jana Morcha Nepal leader Amik Sherchan. CPN-Ekta Kendra Masal leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha 'Prakash' is also reported to be here.
It was not immediately clear who all are representing the CPN-Maoist in the negotiations, but unconfirmed reports suggested Maoist negotiators included Dr Baburam Bhattarai, Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Top Bahadur Rayamajhi. Given that most of the SPA leaders are scattered and are shying away from media interviews, the talks appear to be going on over the telephone and "otherwise" as well.


Tourist arrivals by air up by 12.7 percent

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, March 2 - Tourist arrivals in Nepal by air have increased by 12.7 percent in February compared to the same month last year, according to the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).
Issuing a statement on Thursday, NTB said a total of 15,776 visitors arrived in Nepal by air in February 2006, a growth of 12.7% and a net addition of 1,775 visitors.

“Arrivals from India recorded a growth of 34.5% while the non-Indian arrivals grew by 6%. This was stated in the provisional figures provided today by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, quoting the Immigration Office, TIA,” NTB added.

NTB said compared to last February, arrivals from various markets have shown mixed performance. “There has been an overall growth from Asian segment as arrivals were up from SAARC countries (31.8%), Japan (129.9%), South Korea (66.6%) and Taiwan (169.1%). Markets to decline from Asia were China (-3.2%), Malaysia (-34.6%) and Thailand (-7.8%).”

The European market in itself declined by 13.5% contributed by major losses from UK (-47.4%), despite the growth in arrivals from France (8.2%), Germany (7.2%) and other markets like Austria (29.3%), Belgium (17.3%), Israel (66.7%), Spain (63.1%) and Switzerland (15.7%). Danish (-4.5%), Italian (-20.7%) and Dutch (-29.2%) markets declined during the month. On the other hand arrivals from USA and Australia both went up by 2.4% and 9.4% respectively, NTB stated.

NTB further said, “Arrivals would have gone up by at least 50% in February had there been no cancellations.” However, the apparent growth during the month came because of the low base figures of February 2005



KATHMANDU, Feb 19 - King Gyanendra has called on all willing political parties to come forth to fully activate, at the earliest, the stalled democratic process in the greater interest of the nation.
King said this in a message to the nation on the occasion of the 56th National Democracy Day on Sunday.

"Let us listen to others, put across our views, do away with discord and enhance mutual understanding; let us consolidate peace and democracy," the King said.

The King also stressed that those who have been misguided should, without further delay, enter the mainstream of peace and multiparty democracy, eschewing the path of violence and destruction.

King Gyanendra noted that in spite of the apparent adverse environment, the Nepalese people have demonstrated their faith in the power of the ballot during the recently held municipal elections.

Noting that the nation seeks solidarity amongst all who have faith in multiparty democracy to formulate a mechanism which ensures that peace and democracy are never again jeopardized, the King said democracy could be re-energized with the activation of all representative bodies through the electoral process in the coming days as well. (snn)

The full text of King's message to the nation:

Beloved Countrymen,
As we celebrate the 56th National Democracy Day today, we pay homage to our august grandfather His late Majesty King Tribhuvan and all the brave souls who laid down their lives for the cause of democracy.

To ensure that an exercise in democracy is meaningful and sustainable, the people's right to elect representatives of their choice must be recognized as sacrosanct. The Nepalese people have demonstrated their faith in the power of the ballot during the recently held municipal elections. In spite of the apparently adverse environment, the courage shown by them is indeed commendable. The commitment of the people has led to the victory of democracy. The Nepalese people have been encouraged by this success to install all representative bodies through election and sustainable peace.

Peace and democracy are the aspirations of all. The nation, therefore, seeks solidarity amongst all who have faith in multiparty democracy. This solidarity must be achieved at the earliest so as to formulate a mechanism which ensures that peace and democracy are never again jeopardized. In the coming days as well, democracy can be reenergised with the activation of all representative bodies through the electoral process. Our continued interaction with the people has led us to believe that the time has come for all those who believe in these ideals to chart a course ahead, with the welfare of the nation uppermost. We, therefore, call on all willing political parties to come forth to fully activate, at the earliest, the stalled democratic process in the greater interest of the nation. Let us listen to others, put across our views, do away with discord and enhance mutual understanding; let us consolidate peace and democracy.

Inspired by our glorious tradition of patriotism, those who have been misguided should, without further delay, enter the mainstream of peace and multiparty democracy, eschewing the path of violence and destruction.

We are committed to upholding and safeguarding the Constitution in the greater interest and progress of the Nepalese people. It will do well to remember that democracy will be secure only when the rule of law is upheld and the Constitution alone forms the basis of rule of law.

May this day inspire us to activate a democratic process dedicated to sustainable peace and welfare of the country as well as initiate a new chapter of understanding amongst us all. May those who sacrificed their lives to usher in democracy and all those who place the dignity and glory of the nation above all else inspire us in achieving these noble objectives.

May Lord Pashupatinath bless us all !
Jaya Nepal !



No Maoist controlled territory in the country: Govt spokesperson

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, Feb 13 - As the Maoist insurgency enters its 11th year, Minister of State for Information and Communications, Shrish Shumsher Rana Monday said that there is no Maoist-controlled territory in the country.

"There is no such area as a Maoist-controlled territory, the security situation has been improved and corruption has been controlled effectively," Rana told journalists at a press meet on the achievements of the government after the royal takeover in February 1 last year.

"The government's success in controlling terrorist activities is increasing each passing day. Now the Maoists cannot overpower the army barracks and seize weapons," said Rana.

Rana, who is also the government spokesperson, ruled out the possibility of going for a constituent assembly to resolve the political deadlock.

"The present constitution does not have any provisions for opting for a constituent assembly. Elections are the only way to consolidate democracy," said Rana.

Maoists Chairman Prachanda, in the first ever face-to-face interview with the BBC television aired today said that his party was ready to accept the "people's verdict" after the election of a constituent assembly.

"There is no need to change the constitution using guns and stones when our constitution has all the provisions to sort out the problems," Rana said.

Rana also claimed that the opposition parties and the Maoists could not stop people from voting during the municipal polls despite their active boycott call and threats.

"We held the polls successfully and there is no significance talking about the low voter turnout. We did not compel voters to cast their votes in fact they were restricted from casting their votes by the parties and the Maoists," said Rana.

"Nepalese people are not suffering from the state, they are suffering from terrorism. The source of terrorism is not the state but here it has been misinterpreted," said Rana.

"Peace cannot prevail by killing the Maoists after all they are also Nepalese. If they stop killing people they too won't die," Rana said.

Stating that the King's roadmap to democracy was the only democratic way to resolve the ongoing crisis, he added, "The King's roadmap is not playing with words, it is a genuine programme aimed at bolstering the country's future."

Reacting to the international criticism regarding the municipal polls, Rana said, "The international community should know Nepal's constitutional provisions before making any comments. Their comments show that they are fed with vested interests."



We are open for talks with the govt.: Prachanda

Though his cadres are fighting against the government forces in various parts of the country, top Maoist leader, Prachanda alias Pushpa Kamal Dahal, has said his party is ready to hold talks with the government led by His Majesty King Gyanendra, if it announces ceasefire “with good intention of resolving the crisis.”
Two rounds of talks held between the government and rebels over the last four years had failed as the parties in dialogue accused one another of insincerity.
In an exclusive interview with Wednesday’s Kantipur and The Kathmandu Post – two leading private sector dailies—at an undisclosed location, Prachanda said his party will accept the monarchy if the country's people were in favour of retaining it.
Flanked by the Maoist ideologue, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai at an undisclosed location, the top Maoist leader said his party was ready for discussions on all issues including elections for a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution.
"We will accept it if the constitution assembly says we want monarchy," he said. He even went on to say that (the Maoists) would accept it even if the people said they wanted an active monarchy.
Over 13,000 people have lost their lives during the decade-old “people’s war” launched by the CPN (Maoist) with a declared aim to turn Nepal into a communist republic.
While admitting his party's faults and weaknesses, Prachanda said the rebellion had changed society positively and phenomenally.
Critics, however, say the armed insurgency has pushed the country’s economy on the verge of collapse, caused immense sufferings to common people and paved way for the Nepali monarch to take direct control of the government.
In the interview, the Maoist leaders said there was an opportunity for resolving the crisis if the king had shown magnanimity after February 1, 2005 takeover. “The King should have said, "Okay I have come, let's solve the problems together." However, he started saying, " I won't give you the rights that you have enjoyed so far," they said.
When asked about the bottomline of his party, Prachanda said the 12-point pact reached between the CPN (Maoist) and the seven party opposition alliance in November last year in the Indian capital was the bottomline for his party.
“We will uphold that pact and that is the way to go about to bring lasting peace in the country,” he said. He admitted that given the international balance of power, overall economic, political, and social realities, his party cannot attain maximum goal of socialism and communism.
"We must accept this ground reality. We have said democratic republic and constituent assembly, with the understanding that we should be flexible enough, given the balance in class struggle and international situations," Prachanda said.
He spent most of his time explaining about the role of the international community including the UN in managing arms and armed forces of both sides if elections to the constituent assembly were to be held. He proposed to form a national army by incorporating his own guerrillas.


Nepal in Europe's Heart and Mind

By Guna Raj Luitel

BRUSSELS, Feb 5 - Temperature was freezing at minus 2° Celsius but they didn't care about it. Holding red flags and banners, they were chanting the slogan, "down with autocracy." They left the country long before, but nostalgia always haunts them. They are in the most democratic region of the world, but couldn't ignore the worsening situation of the country.

Hundreds of Nepalese and members of European civil society organisations gathered in front of the European Commission (EC) and Council of the EU, appealing for the restoration of democracy in Nepal. The Nepali diaspora was well supported by European organisations and individuals. They were encouraged when senior European officials received their memorandum in the protest ground.

James Moran, acting Director for Asia, Directorate-General External relations, EC, personally came to the protest site with his colleagues and received the memorandum. It showed the importance and attention the EU system has placed on Nepal.

After February 1, 2005, the EU alone has issued 12 declarations regarding Nepal's political instability. For the first time Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) showed "concern" issuing statement on Nepal. One year after the dissolution of multi-party government in Nepal, on February 1, 2006, he said, "The sad failure by the King and his Government to declare a truce and to engage in dialogue at the time of the recent Maoist unilateral ceasefire was an opportunity missed."

"I, together with the whole EU, will continue to monitor closely the situation in Nepal and to press for early progress towards peace and genuine democracy", Solana added.

One of Nepal's key development partners, the EU is genuinely concerned about Nepal. Several influential leaders of the EU were present in a programme organised by the South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE) and Eurostep, a Brussels based European NGO on February 1 where they renewed the EU's early stand regarding the restoration of peace and democracy in Nepal.

Personal Representative of Javier Solana, Michel Matthiessen, who was present as a panellist, said, "Today, one year after the Royal takeover, the EU reaffirms its stand of peaceful transformation in Nepal and condemns the excessive use of force against political leaders and activists", adding, "We support the peaceful protests in Nepal."

Matthiessen also urged the Nepal government to release human rights defenders including Dr Mathura Prasad Shrestha who was supposed to be in the meeting but couldn't be present as he was arrested before he could leave by security forces in Kathmandu.

Urging the government to stop harassing opposition leaders, Matthiessen said, "Human rights, democracy and peaceful protests are of core value to the EU."

Bruno Bilek, Counsellor Responsible for Asia, Austrian Permanent Representation to the EU, said, "Nepal is very much in our heart and mind." About the government-announced municipal elections, he said, "For meaningful elections, there needs to be political atmosphere."

Dr. Gunther Bächler, Special Advisor for peace building in Nepal, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland, billed Nepal's present regime as "Panchyat Plus".

Jo Beall, Director of the Development Studies Institute (DESTIN), London School of Economics, Petra Pinzler, Die Zeil EU Correspondent, Robert Shaw, Human Rights and Communications officer, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and Dr. Arjun Karki, President, NGO Federation of Nepal were the panellists of the programme.


We talked with Maoists face-to-face: Koirala

KOL Report

BHAKTAPUR, Dec 7 - Nepali Congress (NC) President Girija Prasad Koirala for the first time has admitted that the seven-party alliance held direct talks with the Maoists while reaching the 12-point understanding between the two sides.

Addressing a mass gathering of the NC at Bhaktapur, Koirala Wednesday said, "I don't want to say that we talked with them (Maoists) over the telephone," adding, "In a clear way I want to say that face-to-face talks were held with them."

Koirala also said, "I have clearly told them (Maoists) that I don't believe in your guns or the king's guns."

He also told the Maoists that the parties would not collaborate with them unless they abandon their arms.

"We (seven-party alliance) have clearly told the Maoists that we will continue our peaceful movement," he added.

He also accused the government of being "an obstacle" to the restoration of peace in the country.

Reiterating the need of restoring the House of Representatives, Koirala further said he was

wiling to hold talks with the Maoists at any cost if that caused the restoration of peace.

Speaking at the same programme, vice-president of the party Sushil Koirala and general secretary Ram Chandra Poudel said since the palace had endangered the rights of the people several times, the upcoming protest would "tame" the palace. (snn)


KOL Report

KATHMANDU, Dec 5 - The European Union (EU) on Monday welcomed the Maoists' announcement to extend their unilateral truce by one month to find a political solution to the ongoing conflict.
Issuing a statement today the EU called upon the Maoists to announce an immediate cessation of violence and to uphold their commitment to human rights and the rule of law agreed with the seven political parties.

The EU also urged the king to declare a truce and uphold its international human rights and humanitarian obligations to create a conducive environment for peace building in the country.

A complete cessation of hostilities between the Maoists and the government is a crucial step towards a lasting peace, reads the statement.

The EU has also stressed the need for the United Nations to help to broker and monitor a ceasefire agreement. (hb)

Switzerland urges govt to reciprocate ceasefire

KOL Report

KATHMANDU, Dec 5 - Switzerland, one of Nepal's key donors, has welcomed the extension of the unilateral ceasefire by one more month by the Maoists and the understanding reached between the seven parties and the Maoists saying that the 12-point understanding would pave the way for peace in Nepal if all actors refrained from using violence.
"Both the extension of the ceasefire for another month by CPN-M as well as the 'understanding' were necessary steps forward to lead Nepal out of the present political crisis," said the Swiss Foreign Ministry in a statement issued on Sunday.

Switzerland urged the king and his government to declare a ceasefire and to engage immediately in a political dialogue with all other parties to the conflict.

"Military provocations are not the adequate answer to the present development. We particularly remind the government and in particular the armed forces that the use of violence against democratic and peaceful manifestations would highly damage the reputation of the Royal Nepalese Army in the world and its suitability to serve in multilateral peacekeeping missions," said the statement.

Hailing the understanding reached between the parties and the Maoists, the Swiss Foreign Ministry said, "There is no doubt: the understanding nourishes people's hope for a continuation of the de facto ceasefire paving the way towards a sustainable peace process. The process initiated by the seven political parties and the CPN-M bears the potential to transform the armed conflict into a democratic struggle for a long-term political solution to the crisis in Nepal."

The Swiss government said that the return to multiparty-democracy will be possible only if all sides stick to their commitment to use non-violent means to reach the goal.

"The CPN-M might enhance its credibility and reliability through implementing a Code of Conduct on human rights and international humanitarian law which is based on the letter of understanding with the seven parties," the statement added.

It, however, added that key development challenges facing the country were not addressed in the statement.

" the future dialogue process, full reference should be made on the development agenda, socio-economic issues, and the crucial role of local initiatives in promoting peace, human rights and democracy," the statement read.

Switzerland also expressed its willingness to help Nepal end the conflict adding, "Today, we are fully committed to help our friends to finish the most important bridge they already started to build: peace and reconciliation."


UNICEF calls for extension of ceasefire
KOL Report

KATHMANDU, Nov 29 - As the Maoists three-month-long unilateral nears an end, the UNICEF on Tuesday said that the extension of the ceasefire would be of enormous benefit to children and their families.

The Maoists unilateral truce will end on December 2.

"The last three months has given some children and their families the chance to start recovering from the effects of the conflict," said Dr Suomi Sakai, UNICEF representative, in a statement issued today.

Stating that the conflict disrupted the development of children, Sakai said that extending the ceasefire would give children the chance to hope that they will have a future in their own country.

"It has given them respite, and the possibility to dream of a Nepal at peace," said Sakai.

She also pointed out the need for the government to reciprocate the ceasefire as urged by the UN secretary general on Nov. 23. (dds)


Koiirala returns, positive about Maoist response

KOL Report

Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala Saturday said that he asked the Maoists during a "telephone conversation" in the Indian capital New Delhi, to join the political mainstream.
Talking to journalists upon his arrival from Delhi after a 9-day-long visit, in Kathmandu, Koirala also said: "During my conversation with the Maoists, I requested them to come to the political mainstream," said Koirala. "I told them that you have your future only in mainstream politics."

Koirala also said that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed his moral support to the democratic forces of Nepal for the establishment of democracy.

Koirala, however, did not mention what the response was from the Maoists to his request.

Meanwhile, Krishna Prasad Sitaula, spokesman of the Nepali Congress, who had accompanied Koirala, told media that he too had appealed to the Maoists for the same cause.

He also said that the Maoists are positive on this. "We are positive about this," Sitaula quoted the Maoists as saying.

"It's all false that we had met with the Maoists in Delhi and reached an agreement," he said adding, "I request all the media persons not to go after such rumours."

Earlier, reports had said that the Maoist leaders reaffirmed their commitment to multi-party democracy during their separate "telephone conversations" in New Delhi with the visiting seven-party alliance leaders including Koirala and CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Nepal.

Though no such written agreement appeared to have been signed, the leaders appeared to have gone a step ahead from the Rolpa accord - which inter alia pitched for a broader alliance for democracy -- signed between UML leader Bam Dev Gautam and Maoist leaders two weeks ago.

American and Indian ambassadors to Nepal, James F. Moriarty and Shiv Shankar Mukherjee were also in Delhi last week.



UN welcomes Maoist announcement of truce

KOL Report

KATHMANDU, Sept 6 - Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations in Nepal Ghulam M. Isaczai welcomed the announcement of truce by Maoists, saying that it would open a way to resolve the ongoing conflict, Monday.
In an interview with BBC, Isaczai said, "The United Nations welcomes any move that would contribute to achieving peace and security in Nepal."

He also said that the truce should be for a longer period and a conducive atmosphere should be created to initiate dialogue between the government and the rebels.

Earlier, Chairman of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Prachanda, in a statement issued on Saturday, had announced a three-month ceasefire and had called for UN involvement in resolving the ongoing conflict in the country. (hb)

UN ready to help Nepal: Annan

KOL Report

KATHMANDU, Sept 6 - United Nation's General-Secretary Kofi Annan Monday expressed his availability to help Nepal in search for a solution to end the ongoing conflict.
A statement issued by the Annan's spokesman in New York yesterday said that the secretary-general has taken note of the appeal addressed to him by a large number of non-governmental and civil society representatives in Nepal requesting his good offices to help find a peaceful solution to the conflict here.

"The appeal reflects the deep desire of the people of Nepal to see an urgent end to the conflict that has brought them profound suffering," the statement said. "The secretary-general has made known to all interested parties his availability to help in the search for a solution."

Stating that Annan has further learned of the decision of the Maoists to declare a ceasefire for a period of three months, the spokesman said, " The secretary-general earnestly hopes that all sides in Nepal will take all measures which will lead to peace talks and the lasting peace that the people of Nepal crave and deserve."

"On numerous occasions he has urged an end to hostilities and the initiation of an inclusive national dialogue in Nepal with a view to resolving the underlying causes of conflict," read the statement. (dds)


I am open for dialogue with parties: King Gyanendra

KOL Report
KATHMANDU, Aug 29 - King Gyanendra Monday said that he was always ready for dialogue with the political parties provided the latter come forward with clear views on certain agendas.

"For my part, I am always open," the King said in an exclusive interview with the state-owned media including Nepal Television this evening. "I have never said I won't meet with them [leaders of the political parties]," adding, "But there must be some grounds for dialogue."
The political parties must possess crystal-clear views on four issues—terrorism, good governance and corruption, politicization in bureaucracy and financial discipline—for talks, the King said.
"Once these issues are addressed clearly to

the public, the space for dialogue will be created," the King said.
The King said that he too was accountable to the people.
In reply to a question, the King said that it was not his job to tell how the media should be regulated. He, however, added, "It is my wish that in view of the critical situation in the country, those who have taken the responsibility must carry their duty in a disciplined manner."
The King also said that terrorism should not be given any kind of space for support. "The country is still lingering in a deep crisis." (dds/snn)




Govt ready for talks with Maoists: Bista

KOL Report

KATHMANDU, Aug 5 - Vice-Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Kirti Nidhi Bista, Friday said that government was always ready to resolve Maoist crisis through dialogue.
Bista also called upon the civic society to extend all possible help for the purpose.

Speaking to the members of the Citizens’ Peace Commission at his residence today, he said “the government knew that the problem had to be ultimately resolved through negotiations.”

He also said that the government would encourage those who are taking the proposal of talks with the Maoists.

Stating that there is no alternative to democracy he said, “There should be no suspicion of the King’s intention to hand over power to elected people representatives.” (dds)


Maoists give green signal to talks with parties.

KOL Report
KATHMANDU, July 11 - Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist has requested the seven-party alliance to come forward with an authorized team to hold dialogues to end the existing political stalemate in the country.
Referring to Girja Prasad Koirala’s call to hold dialogue with the Maoists, a statement issued by the Maoist leader Prachanda Monday said that his party has taken Koirala’s call on a positive note.
Former Prime Minister and President of Nepali Congress Girija Prasad Koirala, on behalf of the seven-party alliance, had said that they would hold dialogue with the Maoists to bring the rebels into the political mainstream irrespective of threats from the government and cautioning from foreigners few weeks ago.
The leaders during the same program had said that they have decided to take initiatives to bring the Maoists to the negotiating table as the talks between the king and the Maoists seemed like a far-fetched dream.
Earlier, Prachanda in response to the call of the seven-party alliance to renounce violence and join the mainstream had supported the decision taken by the parties to boycott the local polls and not to recognize the appointments made by the current government at local levels. (dds)





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