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US may remove terror tag on Nepal's Maoists

Source: PTI
April 21, 2008 18:11 IST
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The United States might remove Nepal's Maoists from its terrorist list as the former rebels prepare to head a new government after its stunning performance in the constituent assembly elections, a Nepali newspaper claimed on Monday .  

In a meeting with Nepal's interim parliament Speaker Subhash Nemwang on Monday, US Ambassador Nancy J Powell hinted that Washington might lift the terrorist tag on Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist soon. The CPN-Maoist continues to be on the US terrorist list even after ending its decade-long insurgency and joining the landmark peace process in the country two years ago. Ambassador Powell is learnt to have discussed with the Speaker the ongoing peace process, constitution drafting procedures and the latest political situation in the country

A top CPN-Maoist leader has said that talks were underway with US officials for removing the "terrorist tag" imposed on the Maoists during their decade-long civil war.

"We are requesting them (United States) to remove the terrorist tag that they have put for our party...our doors are always open to all US officials if they want to talk to us," said C P Gajurel, a central committee member of the CPN-(Maoist).

Former US president Jimmy Carter, who was in Nepal to monitor the constituent assembly election on April 10, had said the results indicated a major transition for the Himalayan state."If the Maoists do gain a substantial share of power I hope the United States will recognise and do business with the government," Carter had said.He also stressed that the former rebels have changed their behaviour by resorting to a peaceful democratic process. Carter hoped the American government will reconsider its "terrorist tag" on the Maoists as they have joined the democratic process.

The CPN-Maoist ended their decade-long insurgency after inking a peace deal in November 2006 with the government that took over from King Gyanendra. The election was for a special assembly that is expected to abolish the 240-year-old monarchy and rewrite Nepal's constitution.

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