Everyone is happy but not without anxieties and fear of breakup
So they are not playing golf, it’s almost confirmed. But what exactly they are doing or talking about is everyone’s guess. What we know for sure is that six people with a group of their assistants are somewhere inside Kathmandu’s Gokarna Golf Resort talking about the peace talks. Two Krishna, Krishna Prasad Sitaula, the Home Minister, and Krishna Bahadur Mahara, the Maoist spokesperson, are in charge of their respective groups comprising of other two members in each side. Talks began at around 4:15 this afternoon and it’s almost four hours now that they haven’t shown any sign of getting out of the luxurious hotel.
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GOVT-MAOIST TALKS: 25-pt code of conduct announced. Int’l monitoring, end to extortion, strikes agreed
By YUVRAJ ACHARYA
The Kathmandu Post (original story)
On the first day of their peace talks held after three years, the government and Maoists on Friday announced a 25-point Code of Conduct governing the cease-fire announcements so as to ensure a violence-free environment.
They have also 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 made available to the media after over five-hour long negotiations, both the sides have agreed to stop new recruitment in their armies and to refrain from strikes in industries and educational institutions. They have also committed themselves to allow development works without any obstruction.
The Code of Conduct has also put an end to donations and financial assistance against somebody’s will. The rebels have received scathing criticism for collecting donations forcefully from individuals and industries.
Both the sides have agreed not to organize or get involved in any activity that would provoke each other. Moreover, they will also make sure that their men won’t appear in combat uniform and with weapons in public and political programs. No party shall create obstruction when the other side is holding political rallies, expressing views and carrying out organizational activities in any part of the country.
“We don’t want to return to war again,” said Krishna Bahadur Mahara, the chief Maoist negotiator, coming out of the dialogue. “We want there to be no bloodshed and civil war.” A jovial Mahara who is also the Maoist spokesperson said they had decided to sit at the negotiating table with “deep sense of responsibility” toward the people.
Likewise, chief government negotiator and Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula, told reporters that since both the teams “had already set their goals”, they concentrated on how to achieve it during today’s talks. “We have agreed that all the problems faced by the country can be settled through mutual understanding and dialogue among us,” he said.
Other members in the government team are Tourism Minister Pradip Gyawali and Minister of State for Labor Ramesh Lekhak; while
Dina Nath Sharma and Dev Gurung are members of the rebel team.
The government and Maoists had sat for dialogue the first time in August 2001 since the Maoists launched a violent rebellion in 1996. However, surprise and simultaneous attacks by the rebels on various government facilities in November ended the cease-fire that was in place for over four months with three rounds of negotiations.
Likewise, the government and the rebels inked a similar truce in January 2003, days after the rebels assassinated Krishna Mohan Shrestha, chief of the Armed Police Force, along with his wife and bodyguard in the capital. But, the truce met a deadlock after four rounds of negotiations in August after the then Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) gunned down 17 unarmed Maoists and two civilians in cold blood in Doramba of Ramechhap district.
The main stumbling block during the past negotiations was the issue of going for constituent assembly elections, which the then government flatly rejected.
However, the 12-point understanding reached between the ruling Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) and Maoist rebels in November last year, which has clearly stated constituent assembly elections as the only way out of the current crisis, has brought hope for making the fresh round of negotiations a success.
Maoist Supremo Prachanda has said he would eventually lead the rebel negotiating team after preparatory negotiations are held with the current teams.
At the end of today’s negotiations, both the negotiators said they are meeting again “soon” to settle the rest of the issues required for holding constituent assembly elections without any hindrance.
We all know that this is just the beginning of the talk process. Today’s talks will create favorable environment for official round of talks (that too preparatory for the summit between Prachanda and Girija Prasad Koirala) scheduled for sometime in the next week. The government is demanding that Maoists stopped extorting money and donation terrorism. The rebels are seeking guarantee of the election of constituent assembly from the government. Plus, they will also be finalizing the Code of Conduct for the peace talks.
Before entering inside the Resort, they expressed their optimism about the success of talks. But then everyone is optimistic because of the changed scenario but no one can say for sure if that optimism turns into reality. We have seen two failed ‘talk shows’ before. In the first instance, rebels backed off from the peace process and attacked, for the first time, an army barrack in Dang. That was in 2058. Then we saw army killing 18 people in Doramba (Ramechhap) there by derailing the second round of peace talks.– Wagle