Nepal Today

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Maoist govt. to forge links with communist governments

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 29 April: Maoist foreign policy chief CP Gajurel said Tuesday there’s a change of US policy towards Nepal’s Maoists who will reciprocate.
“There’s a change in American policy. We now have the responsibility to run the country. Relations, therefore, won’t be bitter as in the past,” Gajurel told party mouthpiece Janadesh.
Gajurel said Maoists will stop calling USA ‘imperialists’ and Indians expansionists’ repeatedly as the party prepares to lead a government following the 10 April elections..
“What’s the point in embittering relations for the country or for us?” Gajurel asked.
Gajurel charged USA made war plans of Royal Nepal Army against Maoists during the 11-year-people’s war and extended military assistance.
‘Then our relations with them were of an enemy. There’s no war now.”
Gajurel said Maoists will have to maintain some form of ‘diplomatic relationship’ with USA.’
“There’s been no talk. But handshakes have been exchanged.” Gajurel confirmed while he came across US Ambassador Nancy J. Powell at dinners and receptions.
He noted Powell was present at a meeting Chairman Prachanda had with donors last Thursday without direct contact.
“‘We’ll have two relations with other countries after going to government. Becaue we are a committed, party there’ll be commitment to communism and international communist movement,” Gajurel said.
“We’ll also at the same time have to maintain relations with other nations.”
Not many communist governments remain in the world.
Communism prevails in North Korea, China and Vietnam in Asia.
It’s not clear which party in a coalition or national government will head the foreign ministry handled by the CPN-UML which has quit government.

11 World Bank executive directors meet Maoists; other details

Kathmandu, 29 April: A delegation of 11 World Bank directors held discussions with Maoist Chairman Prachanda following the party’s electoral triumph in the 10 April constituent assembly elections.
The meetings comes at a time when the world is keen to know the policies to be adopted by Maoists in government.
The delegation also held discussions with Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala Tuesday.
It’s not known who will head a government following elections.
Rival parties have expressed reluctance to hand-over power to Maoists—the largest party in the 601-member assembly.
Rival parties are pushing for an amendment in the constitution to oust a government through simple majority before handing over power to Maoists.
Maoists can’t be dislodged once they assume office without the amendment because a two-third majority will be required.
Maoist central committee meeting Tuesday authorized the party to begin talks with other parties to form a coalition government led by Prachanda.

Nepal, Bahrain sign labour agreement

Kathmandu, 29 April: Nepal and Bahrain signed a labour agreement Tuesday to enable Nepali workers to work legally in the Gulf country.
Labour Minister Ramesh Lekhak and his Bahrain counterpart Dr Majeed Bin Muhsin Al Alawi signed the accord.
Nepalhas such accords with two other countries in the Gulf, including UAE.
Altogether 2,947 plus Nepalis are working in the emirate.

Nepal to help China get Olympic torch on Everest

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 29 April: Nepal is determined to help Chinese climbers carry the Olympic torch to the top of Mount Everest by 10 May.
The replica of the torch was brought to the base camp on the north side of the 8848 meters high peak Sunday, reports from Beijing.
Nepal shares the peak with Tibet.
Nepal has banned 31 expedition members in the south from conducting Free Tibet activities with by deploying police and army to enforce the ban.
Expeditions from Nepal have been forced not to proceed beyond the second camp at 6,200 meters until 10 May.
Team members could run shoulders with climbers from Tibet beyond 8,000 meters.
The southeast ridge route from Nepal and the northeast ridge route from Tibet is common.
By restricting keeping climbers at the second camp, Nepal will help China carry the torch to the summit unhindered.
Nepal this week deported US climber William Brant Holland Monday while the Ministry of Tourism banned him from climbing in the Nepal Himalaya for two years.
Holland was sent back from Everest base camp this month after he was found with a Free Tibet flag in his rucksack..
But Tibetan refugees have resumed anti-China protests in the capital every day after the 10 April assembly election protesting the August Beijing Olympics.

India accepts Naxalism a political movement

New Delhi, 29 April: Admitting that Naxalism was a ‘political movement with a strong base among poor peasantry and adivasis’, a high-powered government committee has ascribed its growth to people’s discontent and complete failure of the system and asked for immediate winding up of Salwa Judum, the Chhattisgarh government-sponsored armed civilian campaign against Naxalites, Akshaya Mukul reports in the Times of India.

[Note: The study comes after the success of Maoists in Nepal where they are likely to form a government. Maoists came into the mainstream politics with Indian government help.]

Maoists taming with power in sight

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 30 April: With power in sight, the taming of Maoists has begun.
Chairman Prachanda their threats to ban Indian films and stop recruitment into Indian and British armies won’t or can’t be immediately implemented.
‘There has been a change [overwhelming Maoist election] in the situation and we need to move ahead base don this change,” Prachanda told Siddhartha Varadarajan who asked for the Indian Express: And the 1996 demand for a ban on Indian films?.
“We have always maintained that this recruitment for foreign armies should stop. But given the circumstances and the process by which we have come here—ours will not be a single party government—we will have to talk to the other parties to see how this sensitive and delicate issue can be resolved,” Prachanda said in reply to another question in Gurkha recruitment..
Maoists hope to integrate their PLA with Nepal Army ‘with the process of writing the constitution’ within one year.
Maoists plan to draw up the constitution within one year to conduct parliamentary elections instead of the planned 30 months.
Maoists in government will enable the integration.
“Secondly, the problem is not so difficult as it was earlier because when the government is formed with our leadership, the integration process will also be easier,” Prachanda said.
Nepal Army has opposed integration and although Maoists are in the incumbent government they don’t manage military affairs until now under Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala.
Maoist military leader Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ didn’t blame the king or army for the killings in the 11-year people’s war but put the blame on India and USA for planning the war, training the supplying the army under parliamentary parties.
Maoists want to downsize the army from 100,000 to a 30,000 or 50,000 force in the next five to seven years so that it can never be an effective fighting force again.
After defeating Nepal Police and Armed Police Force, created to fight Maoists without deployment of Royal Nepal Army (RNA), Maoists now seek to make ineffective the force that stood in its way to overrun the country.
Maoists have come to power without defeating the RNA.
“Broadly speaking, we are thinking of a size of 30,000 to 50,000. This is our strategic thinking. It will take five to seven years, to come to the right size,” Prachanda said—the time required to seek alternative jobs for the displaced.
Recruitment of PLA into the NA, opponents says, is an attempt to destabilize the state army through infiltration.
Prachanda and Maoists have tempered down their belligerent attitude towards NA officers who, the Maoist chief said, were mentioned by the Rayamajhi Commission.
The Commission, Prachanda said, wasn’t formed when Maoists were in government; the Commission pinned specific blame on individual officers for a crackdown during the April 2006 movement.
“… we are not in favour of mechanically implementing whatever the Commission has recommended,” Prachanda said in reply to a question.
Prachanda said there’ll be ’no role’ for UNMIN in Maoist scheme to integrate Nepal Army and PLA more possible now because of ‘political stability’.
“I do not see such an important role for the UN.”
Prachanda and Maoists have toned down their criticism of India as well.

India, USA hurdles for Maoists

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 30 April: Premier Girija Prasad Koirala has revealed USA and India are pressuring him not to hand-over power to Chairman Prachanda, Janaastha reports.
He revealed this at a breakfast meeting who family members Sunday.
Indian ambassador-designate suggested Koirala hand-over power to Dr Baburam Bhattarai instead of Prachanda.
:People at home and foreigners both have a single fear Maoists won’t leave once they get power. The prime minister cannot also be removed with the constitutional provision for a two-third vote to get rid of hi8m,” Koirala said, according to the source.
Ambassador Nancy J. Powell suggested USA will render all possible assistance if Deuba is pushed.
Koirala has conveyed this to Prachanda.
Prachanda told Koirala appointment of Bhattarai it’ll be difficult to unite the party with Bhattarai as prime minister.
“How can I have over the platter to them?” Koirala told his relatives.


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