Nepalese rebels renounce violence
Nepal's top rebel leader, Prachanda, has
declared an end to violence after 10 years of armed insurgency.
The announcement came after a peace deal
which will see the Maoists join an interim government within a
The accord has been welcomed by Nepal's
politicians, as well as by giant neighbour India and the US and
The BBC's Charles Haviland in Kathmandu
says there are genuine hopes the deal will end the decade-long
conflict in which about 13,000 people were killed.
The rebel leader said the Maoists had
a "new vision" for the country and would use politics,
not violence, to "meet the aspirations of the people's longing
"Our experiences have shown we could
not achieve our goals through armed revolution so we have chosen
the path of negotiation and formed an alliance with the political
parties," he told a news conference in Kathmandu just hours
after the accord was reached.
Prachanda said the rebels would respect
human rights and democracy and the rule of law "when a new
constitution and a new government is formed".
In a BBC interview, he promised that the
parallel state that the Maoists run in much of Nepal would be
dissolved once they entered government.
The agreement reached at midnight on Tuesday
has been welcomed by Nepalese politicians who said the deal was
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala said:
"I believe this is a new revolutionary solution to the country's
India described the agreement as a victory
for the people of Nepal. The United States welcomed the deal but
warned its success depended on how it was implemented.
People in Kathmandu hoped the accord would
bring peace, but some expressed scepticism about the rebels' intentions.
In one suburb, hundreds of people stopped
traffic and burned tyres shouting slogans against the rebels.
They condemned the rebels for visiting
homes demanding that Maoists coming to the city for a rally on
Friday be given food and shelter. The rebels deny exerting such
Under the accord, the rebels' weapons
will be put under UN supervision.
The thorny issue of the future of the
already disempowered monarchy will be determined at the first
gathering of a constituent assembly due to be elected by next
The institution's fate will be decided
by a simple majority.
Nepal's transitional government will be
formed at the beginning of December.
Before that, parliament will be expanded
to take in 73 Maoist members, only two fewer than the biggest
party, the Nepali Congress.
Before the assembly election the rebels
will be confined to seven camps. They will keep the keys to their
weapons but will be separated from them and the locks will be
closely monitored by the UN.
The Maoists entered into negotiations
with the government after a popular uprising in April forced King
Gyanendra to end his direct rule and appoint a multi-party government.