AMEET DHAKAL/KIRAN PUN
Dahal said this at a three-party meeting held at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction on Friday.
As the meeting progressed and began to digress to various issues, NC leader Minendra Rajal pointedly asked what the purpose of the meeting was.
UML General Secretary Ishwar Pokharel quickly added: “Or are we here to review what happened last May 28?”
Prime Minister Khanal jumped in to respond to the questions and said, “We are here to discuss how to move ahead on the peace process and take it to a logical end since I have already publicly announced that I will resign if there is no agreement on the peace process by August 13.”
It was now Maoist Chairman Dahal’s turn to jump in. “The prime minister will resign on August 13 with or without an agreement on the peace process by then and this is what we have decided in our party as well,” another leader present at the meeting quoted Dahal as saying.
Prime Minister Khanal did not respond to what Dahal said.
NC leaders Ram Chandra Paudel and Dr Ram Saran Mahat, UML leader Bhim Rawal and Maoist leaders Barsa Man Pun, Janardan Sharma Prabhakar and Pampha Bhusal were also present at the meeting.
Interestingly, after the three-party meeting, Maoist Chairman Dahal held a separate meeting by himself with the three NC leaders and reiterated that Prime Minister Khanal would step down on August 13. He also said that he was committed to taking the peace process forward.
Dahal sought the NC’s cooperation and proposed that the parties now form a national consensus government led by Maoist Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai.
The NC leaders, however, said that they were not in a position to accept a Maoist-led government unless there was tangible progress in the peace process. They instead suggested that the Maoists should be ready to accept a government led by the NC after August 13.
Dahal insisted that his party, as the largest in the Constituent Assembly, should get a chance to lead the all-party government and requested the NC leaders to come up with their bottom line on the peace process.
Though disagreement on which party should lead the next government persisted till the end of the meeting, the two parties agreed to begin the negotiations on peace process in earnest.
“We will soon hold a meeting of top leaders of our party and come up with our bottom line on the peace process,” said an NC leader.
Though the leaders discussed the major issues in the peace process during the three-party meeting and took briefings from members of the Special Committee on the contentious issues, they did not enter into the nitty-gritty.
Published on 2011-08-06 00:00:01