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Nepal PM vows to stay despite mounting pressure

Nepal`s embattled Prime Minister on Monday refused to quit amid mounting pressure.



Kathmandu: Nepal`s embattled Prime
Minister on Monday refused to quit amid mounting pressure on the
government to show flexibility as the withdrawal of the
Maoists-led strike has paved the way to rescue the stalled
peace process.

Madhav Kumar Nepal would stay in power until the
Maoists fulfilled conditions laid out in peace negotiations,
including an agreement on integration of the Maoist
combatants, said Raghuji Panta, a top adviser of the prime
minister.

In an interview to Nepal FM, he said Prime Minister
is not going to step down until there is an agreement on
integration of Maoist combatants. He has no compulsion to
resign just because the Unified CPN (Maoist) halted its
protests, Panta was quotred as saying by the nepalnews online on Monday.

He insisted that there was no point in the government
becoming flexible because of the Maoists` decision to stop
their protests.

Amid the deepening political crisis, top diplomats
from the EU and the US today stepped up pressure on the
government to show flexibility as the end of the Maoists-led
strike has paved the way for ending the deadlock.

The diplomats, who met Deputy Prime Minister and
Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala today, expressed
dissatisfaction over the failure of the 22-party government to
take bolder initiative to resolve the political crisis.

Envoys of the European Union, US and Australia urged
the government to urgently take steps for political consensus.

They mounted pressure on the UML-led government to
show flexibility, saying the withdrawal of strike by the
Maoists has paved the way for ending the political deadlock,
the Kantipur online reported on Monday.

The ambassadors underlined the need for the government
to create environment for the formation of a national
consensus government, the report said.

The ambassadors of EU countries, including Denmark and
Norway, clearly suggested that a new national government
should be formed by dissolving the current government, the
report quoted sources as saying.

Koirala, the daughter of the veteran Nepali Congress
leader G P Koirala who passed away in March, asked the Maoists
to implement past agreements to create an atmosphere of trust.

She told the envoys that the government and her party
won’t have any problem in working together with the Maoists if
the latter dismantles its paramilitary organisations Young
Communist League (YCL) and take concrete steps on the
integration of the Maoists guerrillas.

A government led by Maoists is not possible until the
process of integration and management of the the former
combatants is completed, Koirala said, as a key deadline in
Nepal`s peace process approaches.

Blaming the Unified CPN-Maoist party for the deadlock,
she said the former rebels were creating terror in the minds
of the people as they have failed to manage their combatants
and their para-military organization, the Young Communist
League.

Under the landmark 2006 peace pact, the former
guerrillas agreed to dismantle their aggressive paramilitary
youth wing and to return seized property -- but little
progress has been made.

If the Maoists return the seized property, help in
managing their combatants and exhibit flexibility, the issue
of power sharing can be discussed with them, she said.

Even after calling off their indefinite
anti-government general strike on May 7, thousands of Maoist
cadres remain in the capital to build pressure on the
embattled Prime Minister to quit.

Nepalese political leaders are struggling to meet a
May 28 deadline to finish the drafting of a new constitution
as stipulated by the peace process that brought the civil war
to an end in 2006.

The Maoists, who have around 35 per cent of the seats
in parliament, want the government disbanded, followed by
the formation of a new coalition government led by them to
rescue the peace process and draft a new constitution.

The prime minister has refused to stand down despite a
week of Maoist protests in the capital that ended on Friday.

Prachanda has rejected an offer for talks yesterday till Nepal
resigned "to make an appropriate environment for dialogue and
consensus".

Earlier, a section of the Prime Minister`s own party
CPN-(UML) and Nepalese business community suggested that he
resign to pave the way for the end of the political standoff
in the country.

PTI

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