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Maoists set agenda for 2nd round

Maoists have announced their agenda for the next round of peace talks with the government, after negotiations resumed between both sides after nearly three years.

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Maoists set agenda for 2nd round
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KATHMANDU: Maoists have announced their agenda for the next round of peace talks with the government, less than a week after negotiations resumed between both sides after nearly three years. “At the next round of talks, we will discuss the formation of a broad democratic assembly that will replace parliament,” Maoist spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara said. The Maoists want the holding of elections that would end the two-century-old monarchy in Nepal.

While the government tabled the code of conduct in parliament on Monday for approval, the rebels held a meeting of their top leaders, including Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda and his deputy, Baburam Bhattarai. The meeting decided to form a three-member committee to coordinate with the parties and other organisations that took part in the anti-king protests to form the new assembly. “Our motto is, hand over all power to the greater democratic political assembly,” Bhattarai said in a press statement.

The rebel meet decided to press for the restructuring of the army, communities’ right to self-determination, special rights for women and the backward classes and revolutionary land reform programmes. The second round of talks could be held this week after the government consults parliamentarians on the code of conduct. While hailing the code, lawmakers say the rebels are continuing extortion, attacks and recruitment in violation of the agreement.

Meanwhile, Nepal’s army and Maoist rebels have accused each other of violating a code of conduct agreed last week which commits both sides to cease provocations and stop intimidating people with arms. In their first peace talks since 2003, the Maoists and the new multi-party government agreed to the code which also committed both sides to stop recruitment. The rebels also pledged not to force people to pay donations. “The Maoists are ignoring the code of conduct and continue kidnapping civilians, indulge in forcible collection of funds and recruitment,” the army said in a statement.   

It said the rebels were carrying out recruitment and training in Nawalparasi and had kidnapped a businessman in Lamjung. On Tuesday, chief rebel negotiator Krishna Bahadur Mahara denied the guerrillas were forcing people to pay and said army patrols and searches continued despite the code. “The government is seriously violating the code,” Mahara said.    Mahara also said a local Maoist leader was killed in Bardiya by vigilante groups which were set up by the royalist government of the king to fight the rebels.

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