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US asks Nepal king to restore democracy

By Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu
March 09, 2006 21:25 IST
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Demanding that King Gyanendra restore democracy at the earliest, a top US official Thursday said any election in Nepal will be "hollow" without the participation of "legitimate" political forces and ruled out resumption of miltary upplies even as the royal government denied him access to a key opposition leader.

"The US firmly believes that the Maoists must abandon violence and the king must reach out and reconcile with the parties if we are to see a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Nepal," US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Donald Camp said after meeting with King Gyanendra and top pro-democracy leaders, including Nepali congress president Girija Prasad Koirala.

Camp was, however, Thursday denied access to top opposition leader and Nepal Communist Party-United Marxist Leninist general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal who has been under house arrest for the past two months.

"I regret very much that the government did not allow me to meet Nepal," he said.

Asserting that the US "would not support parliamentary election in Nepal without the participation of legitimate political forces" he said, "We have made it clear during the recently concluded municipal elections that it was a hollow exercise without the participation of political parties."

"Our views will be the same if the parliamentary elections are held in the same way," he told reporters wrapping up his two-day visit to Kathmandu.

He said the US will not resume military assistance to Nepal unless the king goes back on his February 1 move when he seized absolute power.

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Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu
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