Tue, Aug 08, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Talks on verge of collapse, Nepalese rebel leader says

AP , KATHMANDU

A senior communist rebel leader warned yesterday that peace talks with Nepal's government were on the verge of collapse.

"The peace talks have stalled in a very crucial and sensitive point, because there has been repeated violation of agreements by the government," said Baburam Bhattarai, who is the Maoist rebels' second in command.

Bhattarai said if the talks collapse, "we will continue our fight. There is a real need for a fresh revolt."

It was the first such public warning by the rebels since they began a peace process with the government earlier this year aimed at bringing a permanent end to a decade-old conflict.

"The government is dragging its feet away from all the agreements reached between us and also trying to protect the king," Bhattarai alleged in a speech to the business community in the capital, Katmandu.

The peace talks have stalled mainly because the rebels want the reinstated Parliament to be immediately dissolved -- a demand rejected by the governing parties. Also, the rebels are refusing to disarm and disband their fighters.

"Mistrust between the Maoists and us has increased in the recent days but we are trying to resolve this bring the peace process back on track," said Pradeep Gyawali, a government minister and peace negotiator.

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