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Nepal - Maoisterne erklærer våbenhvile!
NEPAL: Positive reaction to Maoist ceasefire
IRINnews.org, 5. september 2005
Maoisterne har indledt en 3-måneders våbenhvile, som alle demokratiske kræfter bifalder. Regeringen og hæren har indtil videre forholdt sig tavse. Der er næppe tvivl om at våbenhvilen vil resultere i et øget politiske partiers pres mod kongen og hans politiske bagland, og måske resultere i et opgør om monarkiets fremtid.
KATHMANDU, 5 Sep 2005 (IRIN) - NGOs and donors have responded positively to a declaration by Maoist rebels in Nepal to observe a three-month ceasefire. "The ceasefire is a great opportunity for the government and political parties, as well as the international community, to work towards peace and development," activist Subodh Pyakhurel said. The rebels have waged a nine-year war to install a communist state in the Himalayan kingdom.
A group of 25 human rights organisations were quick to launch a monitoring programme to ensure that the Maoists abide by their ceasefire statement, issued on Saturday.
In a press statement, the Maoists’ supreme leader in Nepal, known as Comrade Prachanda, said that his organisation would cease offensive operations forthwith, but would retaliate if attacked. The statement said the rebels would also be forced to go on the offensive if the government used the next three months to bolster its military presence in rebel areas.
"We hope that the decision [to call a halt to hostilities] will help create a positive environment to resolve problems for both the political parties and even the UN," said Prachanda.
The king assumed direct power in February,saying politicians had failed to tackle the nine-year insurgency.
The government has not officially acknowledged the ceasefire, with senior officials, as well as the army, refusing to make any direct comment.
Apart from short truces during festivals, the last ceasefire was in 2003 and lasted eight months. In the past few months the rebels have been trying to get political parties which are also opposed to the rule of King Gyanendra on their side. An alliance of seven opposition parties has been engaged in a nationwide peaceful movement against February's royal takeover.
Among the donor community, the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), said Saturday's announcement could have a positive impact on aid and development work - much of which has been hampered by the rebellion.
"If the ceasefire is reciprocated, it should be beneficial to development activities since it ought to be easier to carry out such work when there is not fighting going on," DFID's chief in Nepal, Mark Mallilieu, said.
The Swiss Development Agency in Nepal said the decision should be seen as a confidence building measure that should facilitate talks between the monarchy, rebels and political parties.
"Switzerland very much welcomes the move of CPN/M [Communist Party of Nepal/Maoists] to declare a three-month unilateral ceasefire. Switzerland is very hopeful that this move from CPN/M will be taken positively not only by the political parties but also by His Majesty's Government of Nepal," Geneviève Federspiel, deputy director of the Swiss Development Agency, said.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has repeatedly called for a negotiated solution to Nepal's civil war, which has claimed the lives of about 12,000 people. Annan sent his special adviser, Lakhdar Brahimi, to Nepal two months ago to assess the situation. Although the rebels have supported UN mediation, the government has ruled it out.
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