Thank God, finally it happened. The meeting between Maoist supremo Prachanda and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala happens at a time when people were desperately looking for the second round to high level talks between the government and the rebels. The meeting also happens at a time when Maoists are intensifying their activities like extortion and kidnapping where as the government was casting doubt over the election of constituent assembly with its sluggishness in responding to issues like interim constitution. “The widening gulf between the SPA government and the Maoists in the past few weeks,” writes journalist Suresh Nath Neupane in eKantipur, “due to their failure to reach a consensus on the political issues to be included in the interim statute had created a deadlock in Nepali politics.”
The meeting has been described as being “instrumental in removing the climate of mistrust between the SPA and the Maoists” by Home Minister and chief government negotiator Krishna Prasad Sitaula. Maoist leader Dr. Baburam Bhattarai expressed similar observation to BBC. Nepali Congress leader Dr Sekhar Koirala, who was also present at the meeting, said that the top leaders also agreed on giving the “incomplete” interim draft constitution full shape by the time of the summit talks, reports eKantipur. “Several issues including ways of moving towards constituent assembly elections, the position of the king in the interim constitution and arms management, among others, were the highlights of the meeting,” Koirala said.
Now that both top leaders have agreed that government and Maoists will finalize the interim constitution before the high level summit within two weeks (before dashain festival), the hope of peaceful resolution of conflict has become stronger.