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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Thursday 24 November 2005

NEPAL: Rebels and political parties unite to oust king

KATHMANDU, 24 Nov 2005 (IRIN) - Nepal’s seven main political parties have agreed with Maoist leaders to forge an alliance against King Gyanendra, who assumed direct rule of the Himalayan kingdom on 1 February this year.

According to both the rebels and the political parties, their common agenda - to put an end to the “authoritarian rule” of the king - has brought them together.

“We are fully committed to bringing the armed conflict to an end and establishing permanent peace after ending the autocratic monarchy, and to holding elections to the Constituent Assembly as a process of establishing total democracy,” said a press statement by the Maoist’s top leader, Comrade Prachanda.

In the last few months, the Maoists have been calling for multiparty democracy and working closely with mainstream political parties. Observers remain sceptical, however, as democracy has never been part of the Maoist agenda, who say they are fighting for a Maoist state.

The new understanding between the rebels and the parties was made public on 22 November after a series of discussions between their leaders in the Indian capital, New Delhi, over the past few weeks.

Among the 12 points agreed, the key issues are the abolition of the autocratic monarchy, and election of a representative government according to democratic principles. At the same time, the Maoists have agreed to keep their armed forces under the supervision of the United Nations or any other reliable international institution during elections.

There have been no general elections held in the country since 2001 when the king sacked the prime minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, and his government.

The United Nations welcomed the understanding reached between the rebels and political parties. The spokesperson of Secretary-General Kofi Annan said earlier this week in a press statement that the conflict had brought immense suffering to the people of Nepal in the last decade. “The Secretary-General remains ready to assist in any manner that would help bring about a peaceful resolution of the conflict,” the statement read.

So far, there has been no official reaction to the alliance. The king’s spokesman, Tanka Dhakal, said that the government would make its views public in a few days, after studying the details of the accord between the parties and the rebels. But he told reporters on Thursday that, “this new political development has been happening at the behest of foreign powers.” But he added that the government would not be an obstacle in restoring peace to the country.

There is already pressure on the king by national human rights groups and parts of the international community to reciprocate the Maoists’ unilateral ceasefire before it expires at the end of next week.

The Maoists announced the three-month ceasefire on 1 September and since then have halted military attacks. According to watchdog groups like the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the number of conflict-related killings has dropped sharply since the ceasefire was announced.

[ENDS]

This material comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but May not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2005



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