US lifts sanctions on Nepal Maoists, removes from blacklist



Washington: US on Thursday lifted sanctions on Nepal's Maoists and removed it from the list of designated terrorist organisations, years after the rebels abandoned their armed struggle.

Announcing this, the State Department in a statement said the US looks towards Maoists' continued engagement in a peaceful, democratic political dialogue in Nepal.

"After a thorough review, the Department (of State) has determined that the CPN(M) is no longer engaged in terrorist activity that threatens the security of US nationals or US foreign policy," said the statement.

Additionally, in recent years, the Maoist party has been elected as the head of Nepal's coalition government, has taken steps to dismantle its apparatus for the conduct of terrorist operations, and has demonstrated a credible commitment to pursuing the peace and reconciliation process in Nepal, it said.

"Today's delisting does not seek to overlook or forget the party's violent past, but rather looks ahead towards the party's continued engagement in a peaceful, democratic political dialogue in Nepal," said the department.

With these actions, the CPN(M)'s property and interests in property in the US or within the possession or control of US persons will no longer be blocked, and US entities may engage in transactions with CPN(M) without having to obtain a license, the State Department statement said.

"This delisting reflects the United States' resolve to keep our terrorism sanctions current and demonstrates that a group need not stay on a terrorist list forever should it demonstrate a credible commitment to pursuing peace and reconciliation," it said.

US designated the Prachanda-led Maoists as a terrorist entity in 2003 after they launched a 'People's War' against "the monarchical dictatorship" in 1996. The party gained control of some rural areas throughout the country before joining a peace process in 2006.

In 2008, the party won general elections but has faced tough time to govern in a coalition.

A year later, Prime Minister Prachanda resigned over a conflict with President Ram Baran Yadav regarding his decision to sack Army chief Rookmangud Katawal. Currently, Maoist Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has been running a caretaker government since May after the Constituent Assembly was dissolved as it failed to draft a new constitution within the deadline.

PTI