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Nepal Maoists to join cabinet

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, March 8, IRNA
Inching towards forming a joint government, Maoists and the political leadership in Nepal have reached an agreement under which the rebels would be included in the cabinet and all property seized by them returned to their owners.

Under the agreement reached during talks with Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala at his residence in Baluwatar, Kathmandu Wednesday, Maoist chief Prachanda agreed that the rebels would return lands seized by them and houses belonging to various people and create an atmosphere conducive to holding elections for a constituent assembly, PTI reported here quoting sources.

Besides, a peaceful atmosphere for return of displaced persons to their homes would also be created, sources close to Koirala said.

The prime minister agreed to inclusion of Maoists in the cabinet soon.

The government has also agreed to release some five dozen Maoist cadres who are still languishing in different jails, the sources said.

During the meeting, Prachanda furnished a list of 61 Maoist cadres languishing in various prisons of the country and the prime minister agreed to give directives for their immediate release, Baburam Bhattarai, the number two leader of the CPN-Maoist, said.

Prachanda is likely to issue a statement today instructing his party cadres to return all seized property and to help create a conducive atmosphere for polls, Sekhar Koirala, the prime minister's nephew and a Nepali Congress central member, said.

Koirala said until the Maoists express their commitment to creation of a peaceful atmosphere and publicly acknowledge that possession of weapons is punishable, they cannot be included in the government.

Koirala, however, turned down Prachanda's proposal to abolish the monarchy through a two-thirds majority vote in parliament, saying the issue should be settled during the constituent assembly polls.


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