Nepal Maoists welcome US move to removes it from blacklist



Kathmandu: Nepal's Maoists party on Thursday welcomed US' decision to remove it from the list of designated terrorist organisations, terming it a positive development.

"We welcome the decision of the US government to remove the terrorist tag from our party and we hope that our relations with the United States will move forward in a positive direction," Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha said.

"The decision taken by the US government earlier to put terrorist tag on our party was wrong and now they have corrected the move which is a positive development", he pointed out.

The US today lifted sanctions on Maoists Party 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.

Shrestha said the decision should have taken long before. In a question, he said "we have never made any attempt to establish bad relations with the US government."

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