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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Delhi missed chance to resolve Nepal crisis

May 12, 2009

Maoists will not block new government
Siddharth Varadarajan
The Hindu
May 11, 2009

Kathmandu -- As the Maoist-led government in
Nepal moved towards dismissing Army chief
Rookmangad Katawal in the beginning of May, Prime
Minister Prachanda sent an urgent message to
India seeking the presence here of a high-level
envoy to help forge an eleventh hour political
consensus affirming civilian supremacy over the military.

Revealing this in an interview to The Hindu at
his official Baluwatar residence on Sunday, Mr.
Prachanda said he asked Ambassador Rakesh Sood to
request New Delhi to send Foreign Secretary Shiv
Shankar Menon or some other senior official for
talks on the increasingly tense standoff over the
Army chief. With quiet encouragement from India,
parties like the United Marxist-Leninist were
changing their stand and siding with the general.
“We knew some confusion is there between the
Maoist-led government and India on this question,” said the Prime Minister.

"I wanted to settle this issue through
interaction and discussion with high-level
officials from Delhi. But unfortunately, the
ambassador informed me that this cannot happen
now because the election campaign is going on,
that nobody is there, that it is very difficult."

Mr. Prachanda also said he believed the long
election season in India meant the country’s
security and bureaucratic establishment were now
calling the shots on Nepal policy and that a
"mechanical and subjective analysis" of the
situation "especially on the question of Nepal’s
so-called tilt to China” had coloured South
Block’s perception of the civil-military issue.

The Nepalese Prime Minister acknowledged that
several Chinese officials had visited Nepal in
recent months but said “not a single delegation”
had come on his invitation. "The initiative for
these visits came solely from the Chinese side,"
mainly because of the Tibet crisis.

He said his government had no intention of
concluding a new friendship treaty with China
without discussions among all Nepali political
parties as well as with New Delhi.

Giving a glimpse of the strategy the Maoists will
adopt in the face of the attempts by other
parties to form a new government, Mr. Prachanda
said his party would sit in opposition if
President Ram Baran Yadav’s "extraconstitutional
instruction" reinstating Gen. Katawal was not withdrawn.
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