US envoy holds key talks with Prachanda amid political crisis



Kathmandu: Amid the political deadlock over the formation of a new government, the US ambassador to Nepal on Thursday met Maoist supremo Prachanda in the capital to discuss the stalled peace process, particularly steps to push it forward after the end of the term of the UNMIN in Janury.

Scott H DeLisi today met UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Prachanda and discussed the current political stalemate and the peace process that has been stalled due to the constitutional crisis in Nepal.

The envoy told reporters after the meeting that they also discussed steps for an effective transition after the exit in mid-January of the United Nations Mission in Nepal UNMIN, which is currently tasked to monitor the arms and the former Maoist combatants housed in the various camps in the country.

DeLisi said they also discussed the need to move forward the ongoing peace process and to end the current political deadlock.

Last week, the US said it is committed to lend support to the peace process after the UNMIN ends its mandate in the country. The UNMIN's extended tenure is set to expire on January 15, 2011.

Nearly four months after the 22-party coalition led by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal collapsed, 13 rounds of elections in Parliament have so far failed to elect a new leader.

The country has been in political limbo since the June 30 resignation of Nepal. It has stalled the country's peace process and delayed the annual budget, bringing the nation on the brink of financial crisis.

The US envoy also discussed other key issues including Prachanda's recent visit to China, the framing of a new constitution, the integration and rehabilitation of former Maoist combatants, according to a private television.

Nepalese lawmakers have failed to end the uncertainty over the formation of a new government as Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudyal, the sole candidate for the post of prime minister, was unable to garner a majority support for an unprecedented 13th time in a row on Tuesday.

The Maoists, who joined mainstream politics after the 2006 peace deal with the interim government led by G. P. Koirala, won the largest number of parliamentary seats in the April 2008 elections.

The Maoists led by Prachanda formed a government, but it later collapsed after a dispute with President Ram Baran Yadav over their attempt to replace the then army chief Rukmangad Katwal.

PTI