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by Brian OConnor
Tuesday, Jul. 22, 2003 at 12:39 PM
A Maoist negotiator was arrested, causing the Maoists to close their Kathmandu contact office. The King is now hiring mercenaries to be trained by US advisors, while both sides stockpile weapons...
Maoists close Kathmandu contact office
Maoists have closed down the contact office in Kathmandu, open from April 10, Bharat Dhungana, office in-charge said Sunday. He hinted the Maoist negotiation team had gone underground.
"Army and police kept me and other staff of the contact office under regular vigilance," the statement said. "They watched us regularly whenever we came to the office and went back home or wherever we went." The statement added they were not being able to stay in the open condition.
"It was better to close the office than to feel secure," the statement quoted Bharat Dhungana as saying. On peace talks, Dhungana said the government has failed to create conducive environment for talks. "We are committed to peace talks and we urge civilians to exert 'people-pressure' upon the government to sit for talks," said Dhungana.
Dhungana was arrested and released after several hours in detention on July 1 from Mangalbazar, Lalitpur.
Dhungana said in a letter to chief govt. negotiator Kamal Thapa the government had failed to provide security to the Maoist negotiating team. The govt. last week asked the Maoists to set a date for the third round of talks. nepalnews.com br/mr July 20
UML against peace troops to Iraq
CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal said Sunday he and his party are against the government plan to send peace troops to Iraq.
"We should not send Royal Nepal Army to Iraq," Nepal said in a program Sunday. "It will pull us into controversy."
"We should not send troops under the command of a particular nation," Nepal said indicating towards the US. The US sent a letter to Nepal government urging the latter to send a battalion of Nepali army to war-ruined Iraq.
On five parties' ongoing protests, Nepal warned of taking it to international level "if the government continues not to heed democratic parties".
He said the incumbent government would remain in power only for 13 days, as "43 days have already passed, since the countdown began". nepalnews.com mr July 21
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