[QODLink]
Archive
Peace talks held in Nepal

Nepal's new government and Maoist rebels held peace talks - the first in nearly three years - in an attempt to end a decade-long insurgency that has cost thousands of lives.

Last Modified: 26 May 2006 17:26 GMT
Maoists have already had some demands met

Nepal's new government and Maoist rebels held peace talks - the first in nearly three years - in an attempt to end a decade-long insurgency that has cost thousands of lives.

Krishna Prasad Situala, the home (interior) minister, before entering the talks as head of a three-member government team, on Friday said: "We will discuss everything that is of interest to Nepal and its people.

 

"I am 100% confident that the talks will be successful."

 

Shortly after he spoke, the three-man Maoist team arrived at the Gokarna Forest Golf Resort and Spa, just outside the capital, Kathmandu, but declined to talk to reporters.

    

Earlier, a Maoist negotiator, Dev Gurung, had welcomed Thursday's cabinet decision to free hundreds of jailed rebels and investigate cases of people reported to have disappeared after being detained by security forces.

 

"This has helped ease the atmosphere and build confidence," he said.

 

The first round of talks is supposed to prepare the ground for a meeting between Prachanda, the Maoist rebels' chief, and Girija Prasad Koirala, the prime minister.

 

Peace hopes

 

Hopes for peace have risen since a new multi-party government took power last month after weeks of street protests against King Gyanendra.

 

A ceasefire was agreed earlier this month.

   

Maoists had entered a loose alliance with the seven main political parties last year against the king, agreeing on a 12-point plan to end royal rule and bring peace to the Himalayan nation.

   

"There is a confidence between us and the Maoists now," the interior minister told reporters when asked why he was so confident.

 

"We have a 12-point understanding with them - that is the basis of our confidence. There are no complexities."

   

Nepal's new parliament has already agreed to a main rebel demand, to hold elections for a special assembly to draft a new constitution and decide the future of the monarchy.

 

Situala said the talks would focus on how to conduct those elections, and the government wanted to hold them as soon as possible.

 

Disarmament

 

Despite the minister's confidence, some observers say the question of disarmament remains a potential sticking point.

 

The insurgency has claimed more than 13,000 lives and wrecked the economy of the impoverished Himalayan country.

 

Previous peace talks failed in 2001 and 2003.

Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.