RealNews

Nepal peace talks open

Nepal’s Government and the Maoist rebels are holding their first formal peace talks since a ceasefire was announced in January. The six-member government team led by Deputy Prime Minister Badri Prasad Mandal is meeting five rebel negotiators led by their second-in-command, Baburam Bhattarai, at a hotel near the royal palace in Kathmandu. The Maoist campaign for a communist republic in Nepal has claimed nearly 8,000 lives since 1996. When they declared a ceasefire on 29 January both sides said they were willing to hold talks to end seven years of bloody insurgency. The first round was originally planned to take place last week, but the talks were postponed over procedural differences. Now the two teams seem to have ironed out such disagreements and they say they will be discussing substantive issues. Most of Nepal’s political parties oppose the government and are not taking part in the talks. Full Story

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