Nepal is anxiously waiting for the next round of High level talks between the government and the rebels that is scheduled for coming Friday
By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle’s Web Log
“Dari katera aayeko dekhda pharkelan jasto lagdaina” [Seeing them coming clean shaven, I feel that they will not return back to Jungle.] While I was talking about Nepali politics with bachelors level students in a Kathmandu college for Kantipur newspaper, a boy named Aasish threw those remarks which I remember every time I see clean shaved Maoist leaders Prachanda, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and Krishna Bahadur Mahara. If you are optimistic, you will definitely see hopes of permanent peace in shining cheeks of the rebel leaders. [Though I don’t think I really like to be clean-shaven all the time (halka dari is better) I know some people really don’t like daaris at all which is a different matter altogether.] That is just a hope where as some of the behaviors of leaders from both sides make us feel very uneasy.
The constant wrangling from the key players of the peace process makes us wonder about the future of this fragile peace process. We know that this is a bargaining phase and both sides (SPA and the Maoists) are trying hard not to loose the game. There is no doubt that they know that reestablishing peace would be the win-win situation for both sides. To be able to reach to that situation, they know, they will have to loose things equally.
Because of this bargaining, we sometime see such a situation that makes us feel that the peace process would be derailed at any moment. Two instances of failed efforts in the past are enough to create such fear among us. Also the different views that come out from different constituents of the Seven Party Alliance day after day are creating confusion in general public. A few days ago the ‘revolt’ of Nepali Congress MPs against the 8-point Baluwataar agreement, it appeared, nearly derailed the whole process. Also the Maoist’s unwillingness in implementing one of the points from 12 point agreement (that rebels have to return the lands they captured to the original owners in villages) was considered an obstacle in the process. But to many peoples’ surprise, ruling politicians from Nepali Congress and CPN UML held 8 hours long meeting with top rebel leaders in Godavari last week.
They reportedly agreed to turn the current House of Representative interim where Maoists would also be represented. That definitely created hope among the people. Not for long time. Returning office from hospital, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala reportedly expressed surprise over the so called agreement. Not only that, some of the Nepali Congress leaders who attended the surprise talks started claiming that they didn’t actually agree on turning this House into an interim one. Again confusion started ruling.
Amidst all this confusion as to where exactly the peace process is heading, the country is anxiously waiting for the next round of High level talks between the government and the rebels on coming Friday. There are so many issues to be settled and people want leaders from both sides to be very serious in addressing the problems that the peace process is facing currently. Even if the process is moving very slowly, the only satisfying thing is that nothing wrong has happened from both sides. People are desperate and they want peace at any cost. So desperate that they will not mind seeing the same old bearded Maoists again if that can bring the peace back!
UPDATES ON THE PEACE PROCESS:
Maoist leaders Prachanda and Baburam after holding talks with Nepali Congresss and CPN UML leaders in Godavari village resort on Friday July 14. Pics by Shaligram Tiwari
July 21 ‘summit talks’ to decide on interim House
By Tilak Pokharel
GODAVARI, LALITPUR, July 14 – Top rebel and party leaders held talks here Friday and agreed to convert the existing House of Representatives into an interim parliament by inducting more members. The interim parliament will be officially decided on at the second round of “summit talks” scheduled for July 21. Emerging out of seven hours of talks that started at 8:30 a.m. at Godavari Village Resort, Maoist Chairman Prachanda said the talks were successful in resolving the confusion that surfaced after the signing of the eight-point agreement on June 16.
“The talks have brought about a conducive environment,” Prachanda told the Post, just before the media pack caught up with him. “Illusions and suspicions [over the eight-point deal] have been eliminated.” He said the leaders agreed to implement all agreements from last year’s ground-breaking 12-point pact to the recent eight points “honestly and firmly”. Jhalanath Khanal, a CPN-UML leader who participated in the talks, said the Maoists were “not negative” about the parties’ proposal on inducting some outside members [apparent reference to Maoist members] into the existing HoR. “There was a general consensus to have an ‘interim parliament’. But nothing was decided on its modalities,” Khanal told the Post. “The HoR may add additional members as decided by the seven parties.”
Committees to ensure return of displaced and seized property
NC’s Ram Chandra Poudel said the three parties have decided to form committees at the central and district levels, with two representatives from each party, to make sure that displaced people return home and property seized by the Maoists is restored. “We can also seek support of other parties in this regard,” said Poudel, adding that the move is aimed at creating an atmosphere at the grassroots level that is more democratic and peaceful. Representatives of all the parties will meet tomorrow to prepare circulars for sending to the districts, said Poudel. The Maoists had given a nod to this proposal, presented by the NC and UML.
Maoist chairman Prachanda briefs the press after holding talks with the Nepali Congress and CPN UML Leaders
ICDC complete, team formed to return confiscated property
KATHMANDU, July 15 – The Seven Party Alliance (SPA) government and CPN-Maoist talks teams on Saturday gave a complete shape to the Interim-Constitution Drafting Committee (ICDC) by announcing nine more members to the Committee.
The talks which started at 11:15 am in the Peace Secretariat, Singha Durbar in the presence of the members of both the talks teams, later announced the names of Agni Kharel, Puspa Bhusal, Sushila Karki, Chatra Gurung, Sunil Prajapati, Chandeswor Shrestha, Prarashuram Jha, Kumar Yonjan and Shanta Rai for the ICDC. The ICDC team has now become a 15-member committee including three women. Today’s talks also formally decided that the next round of summit talks will be held on July 21.
Meanwhile, today’s meeting also formed a committee including Binaydhoj Chand (NC), Laxman Ghimire (NC), Yubraj Ghimire (UML), Subendra Pandey (UML), Dinanath Sharma (CPN-M) and Barshaman Pun (CPN-M) to return the property confiscated by the Maoists. All the members of both the talks teams and supervisors, Dr. Deverendra Raj Pandey, Damannath Dhungana, and Padmaratna Tuladhar were present during the talks.
Maoist leader Prachanda talks to media after the meeting with ruling Nepali Congress and CPN UML leaders
Govt talks team to finalize ‘summit talks’ agenda
KATHMANDU, July 18 – The meeting of the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) leaders held at the Bhaktapur residence of Nepal Majdur Kishan Party Chairman (NMKP) Narayanman Bijukche on Tuesday asked the government talks team to finalize the agenda for the second round of “summit talks” between top SPA and Maoist leaders slated for Friday. The government talks team is expected to include human rights, peace deal, arms management, among other issues.
Besides discussing the summit talks, the meeting is also looking to find an alternative to the House of Representatives (HoR), a participant of the meeting said. The meeting also formed a 20-member Task Force along with a steering committee that includes top SPA leaders. The steering committee will give suggestion and direction to the government talks team and the government for the peace process. Likewise, today’s meeting also decided to urge the Maoists to completely abide by the “ceasefire code of conduct.”