Nepal's government and Maoist rebels will sit down for a third round of peace talks today with observers hoping more can be agreed to than at previous two rounds.
The talks, in the southwestern town of Nepalgunj, are the first official negotiations in three months.
After a ceasefire was announced on Jan. 29, talks were held on April 27 and May 9, but the third session had been stalled partially due to disagreement over what, if anything, was agreed in the previous sessions.
The Maoists last month threatened to suspend participation in the peace process, demanding that troops be restricted from moving more than 5km outside their barracks -- which the rebels contend the government agreed to at the May 9 talks.
The government has so far refused to budge on the troop restrictions, saying that soldiers only moved so far from their stations in exceptional circumstances. It did, however, agree to release four senior Maoists from prison.
Rebel supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal -- known by the alias Prachanda, or "The Fierce" -- responded by saying the Maoists would take part in a third round of talks.
Nepalgunj, on the Indian border about 420km southwest of Kathmandu, is the closest major town to the areas in the west of the kingdom under Maoist de facto rule.
The two previous sessions were held in Kathmandu, and political observers said the symbolism of negotiating near the Maoists' home turf showed the rebels wanted this round of talks to lead to concrete action.
They are determined the talks would focus on political issues rather than procedural matters.
"The third round of talks between the government and Maoist negotiating teams will center on political agenda rather than on technical aspects," a rebel source said.
The Maoists want the formation of an all-party government, a round table conference on the constitution and elections to a constituent assembly which would redraft the statute.
Government negotiator and Information and Communications Minister Kamal Thapa said the third round of talks could not be "decisive" but would be a "milestone."
He said he had met with opposition leaders, who had given him some suggestions for the talks.
"We will be taking a common agenda of the political parties, the king, the civic society and the general public to the third round of talks," he said.
He said the talks could continue tomorrow, but may move to a different venue.
"The third round of peace talks may not end in a single day, as it may go further depending upon the course and nature of the dialogue," added talks facilitator Shailendra Kumar Upadhyay.
Thapa and Finance Minister Prakash Chand Lohani will be the government representatives at the talks, while Baburam Bhattarai and Krisna Bahadur will negotiate for the rebels.