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Jyoti: Maoists In Dilemma, Cease-Fire Ending

Maoists In Dilemma, Cease-Fire Ending

By Jyoti

Maoists are in dilemma whether or not to extend a three-month cease-fire they announced ends Saturday as they confront international pressures to extend it.

Maoist chief Prachanda has been sending mixed signals as CPN-UML leader Bharat Mohan Adhikari said the future of the New Delhi accord rests on the extension of the cessation of hostilities.

Prachanda first said: "An extreme decision has to be made as the army expands and party workers are being killed."

Countering Adhikari, Prachanda also said, "The understanding will not be affected even if the cease-fire is broken."

But he told BBC Nepali service in a fresh interview the party leadership is considering extending the fragile cease-fire which has not been reciprocated by the government forces.

But CPN-UML chief Madhav Kumar Nepal has linked its extension with the suspension of municipal elections—a demand unlikely to be met by the government.

Prachanda told the BBC his party will not lay down weapons before an election for a common demand of the Seven Party Alliance and Maoists for a constituent assembly.

Prachanda's rejection of demands for decommissioning of weapons will be a hurdle in the Maoist, SPA alliance and will isolate Maoists internationally.

"Arms can be settled after reorganizing the armed forces of both sides" after elections for an assembly, Prachanda said.

USA has been concerned with the 12-point Maoist, SPA accord; Washington which has warned against an opposition alliance recalled ambassador James F Moriatry for consultations.

Moriarty told reporters before flying for Washington this week the 12-point agreement between Maoists and SAP does not mention laying down of arms.

"This does not excite people who want peace," he said. He also added: "We have taken the issue of parties remaining silent on polls very seriously."

In fact, the 12-point agreement says elections will be disturbed.

Amid deep differences on the New Delhi agreement at home, even Great Britain expressed reservations while saying the accord could be a basis for peace negotiations.

Great Britain also didn't totally welcome the New Delhi like UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

"If by this agreement the Maoists commit to giving up violence and human rights abuses in favour of a democratic political settlement then this is welcome news for the long suffering people of Nepal," a statement issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said Monday.

"As a sign of their good faith, we call on Maoists to extend their present cease-fire unconditionally to create the right condition for peace talks to resume," the statement said asking the King and government to reciprocate.

London asked Maoists to end extortion, abductions, human rights abuses and disruption of development works while asking the extreme communists to join the mainstream.

"An alliance with Maoists is not possible unless they give up arms, NC vice-president Sushil Koirala cautioned.

NC is the major constituent of the SPA.


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