‘Nepal peace process to be concluded on time’

A top Maoist leader said the government will finish the key task of concluding the peace process and framing a new constitution.

Kathmandu: A top Maoist leader on Friday said
the government will finish the key task of concluding the
peace process and framing a new constitution, amid a deadlock
between the political parties over form of governance and
federal structure to be adopted in the country.

"The peace process and the constitution drafting will be
completed within the stipulated time frame of May 27,"
Education Minister and senior Maoist party leader Dinanath Sharma said on the sideline of the inaugural function of
the UK Education Fair in the capital.

The landmark peace process has been stalled amid the
failure of the political parties to agree on the form of
governance and federal structure.

Sharma said he was "confident that the atmosphere of
trust and consensus is being formed among the political

He said the process for the voluntary retirement of the
former Maoist combatants has already begun and remaining tasks
of peace process will also be completed on time.

Replying to a question on the settlement of contentious
issues, Sharma said "these issues need to be settled through
political consensus among the political parties and efforts
are being made towards that end."

The extended tenure of the Constituent Assembly, which
functions as the country`s interim parliament, is set to
expire on May 27.

Bowing to mounting pressure from the opposition parties,
Nepal Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai yesterday announced
scrapping of a controversial Cabinet decision to legalise the
war-time transactions of property and land deals, a move that
ended a deadlock that had stalled Parliament over the last few

On the issue of the formation of the national consensus
government Sharma said a national government cannot be formed
only by dissolving the present government "as consensus is
required for that."

"The issues of forming the government, concluding the
peace process and drafting of the constitution are
interrelated matters," he said.

Underlining the need to spread educational opportunities
in Nepal, he pushed for promoting educational exchanges
between UK and Nepal.

He said the Maoist-led government favours an open
educational policy in which students aiming to pursue higher
educational abroad are not discouraged.