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Hope For Nepal's Peace Process

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U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Patrick Moon met with Nepal's Prime Minister Madhav Kumar in January and pledged the U.S. government's continued support for the ongoing peace process. He also met other senior Nepali government officials including Minister for Foreign Affairs Sujata Koirala, Defense Minister Bidhya Bhandari, as well as civil society leaders, human rights activists, and representatives of the international community.

On November 21, 2006, the Maoists signed 5 agreements with the Seven-Party Alliance, effectively ending a 10-year Maoist insurgency. In April 2008, the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist won a plurality of seats in the constituent assembly elections. The constituent assembly fulfills a dual role of drafting a new constitution and serving as the country's legislature.

On January 12, 2009, the Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist merged with the much smaller Communist Party of Nepal – Unity Center Masal, the formerly underground party of the People's Front Nepal, to form the United Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist.

In accordance with the requirement of the peace process, the Maoists are obligated to discharge some 4,000 personnel, including many minors, from their cantonments. The successful discharge of these personnel is a critical step in moving the stalled peace process forward. On January 17, 182 ex-child soldiers were released from a camp in Shatikhor. Scores of others were reportedly released earlier this month.

Mr.Moon said that human rights "remains the top U.S. agenda" for Nepal. "We want to see the government of Nepal and the Maoists seriously address these human rights issues. I think [the] Nepali people need that and we hope that the process can move forward," he said.

Mr. Moon noted that "there is a very serious attitude among all of the government and party leaders in making progress" on the peace accord's implementation. "We would like to see [the] Maoists take steps, including renouncing the use of violence and terrorism, holding accountable those who committed gross human rights violations, working actively with other parties to support the peace process," he said, adding, "we want to see the Young Communist League, like other youth organizations, abandon violence and criminal activities. We hope to continue the dialogue."

"The U.S is urging timely progress in the peace process," said U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Patrick Moon. "We believe all parties need to be flexible. There will be need for compromises to successfully reach agreement on all the issues by the deadline set of May."