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06KATHMANDU2743 2006-10-16 08:46:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kathmandu
Cable title:  

CENTER-RIGHT LEADER CONCERNED AS PEACE TALKS DRAW

Tags:   PGOV PTER NP 
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1. (C) Nepali Congress - Democratic President Sher Bahadur
Deuba told visiting SCA PDAS Steven Mann October 4 that the
Seven Party Alliance government would have to overcome
considerable mistrust of the Maoists if it was going to reach
a peace deal at the upcoming talks. The main question was
Maoist arms management. Deuba said he did not know if the
Maoists were serious or not about compromising. Although he
was critical of the Government of Nepal's failure to crack
down on Maoist abuses, he predicted that any Maoist effort to
take power by force would fail.

Mistrust of Maoists On Eve of Summit Talks


--------------------------





2. (C) Center-right Nepali Congress - Democratic President
and former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba told visiting
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central
Asian Affairs Steven Mann that his party as well as others in
the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) government were finding it
very difficult to trust the Maoists. The Communist Party of
Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) continued to commit rampant violations
of the Cease-fire Code of Conduct. The CPN-M was still
extorting, still refusing to return property it had
confiscated, still recruiting militia and party cadre, still
kidnapping and killing. The Nepali people, Deuba said, were
very suspicious that the Maoist conversion to democracy was
not genuine. At the same time, the Maoist leaders seemed
very eager in meetings to join the Interim Government and
Parliament.

Maoist Arms Management the Nub


--------------------------





3. (C) Deuba emphasized that he had no objection to the CPN-M
joining the government -- if its combatants were in
cantonments and its weapons were under UN control. The
shadow of fear had to be removed. Arms management would be
the biggest issue, he predicted, in the talks. The Maoists
were insisting on keeping control of their weapons because
they wanted to be major political players. The SPA were
ready to offer the CPN-M a political package, but only if the
Maoists gave up their arms. Other things had to happen as
well. The Maoists had to give up recruitment; the Nepal Army
(NA) had already done so. The Maoists kept talking about the
NA, but it was not the same. The NA could take over Singha
Durbar (note: the seat of the Prime Minister and the
Parliament), the NC-D chief stated, but it did not have the
same power as the Maoists to create fear throughout the
countryside. The Parties were prepared to deal with the NA,
to make it accountable to the government. The Maoist
People's Liberation Army (PLA) also had to be made
accountable. Senior NC-D leader Minendra Rijal added that
the Maoists tried to divide the SPA by raising questions
about the NA and the monarchy.

U.S. Supports Peace, But Not At Any Price


--------------------------



4.(C) PDAS Mann affirmed that the USG strongly supported
unity within the governing coalition as the peace process
moved forward. We wanted to assist the process and a
positive outcome. In our view, however, it was not the
process which was most important. It could not be a peace at
any price but had to be a meaningful peace.

Maoist Intentions?


--------------------------





5. (C) The SCA PDAS asked if it was possible for the Maoists
to compromise and remain Maoists. The NC-D President
admitted that he still was not sure if the CPN-M was serious
or not. The Communist Party of Nepal - United Marxist
Leninist (CPN-UML) had a very different ideology from the
NC-D, but they had become part of Nepali democracy. He
suggested that if the international community were united,

that the Maoists would think twice about abandoning the peace
process and returning to the jungle. The international
community needed to be firm. Deuba encouraged the U.S. to
manage and work with India, China, Japan and the European
Union especially. International pressure helped to keep the
Maoists in line and strengthened the GON. The NC-D chief
reported that Maoist Supremo Prachanda had said the CPN-M
would be smashed by foreign countries if it attempted an
October Revolution. The Maoists, Deuba, stated, would not
have even talked about arms separation if not for U.S. and
other international pressure.

Future of Maoist Militia


--------------------------





6. (C) In response to a question from PDAS Mann, Deuba agreed
that the Maoist militia had not gotten the attention thus far
that it merited. The issue was not just the Maoist PLA. The
militia had small arms while the common people had none. In
order to prevent them from intimidating people, the militia
needed to be dissolved. As Minendra Rijal said, without
security in the countryside, there could be no free and fair
election.

Role of India


--------------------------





7. (C) Deuba praised Ambassador Moriarty for his plain talk
about Maoist abuses, but complained that the Indians were not
as clear. They had leverage with the CPN-M, but, for some
reason, were not using it. The former Prime Minister asked:
Didn't they see the risk to India that the Maoists posed?
PDAS Mann argued that, even with the left parties in the
governing coalition in Delhi, India had no interest in a
Maoist takeover. Still, it seemed odd, Minendra Rijal noted,
that the Indians were complaining about U.S. military
training to the GON but keeping silent about the Maoists.
Deuba conceded, however, that even the Indian left did not
think the CPN-M should be allowed to retain its arms.

Risk of Maoist Takeover


--------------------------





8. (C) The NC-D President downplayed the risk of a Maoist
takeover. The international situation was not favorable, and
the democratic parties still enjoyed considerable support.
The GON also needed to enforce the law. A crackdown by the
police and the NA was going to be particularly important if
the talks failed. Deuba said he had stressed to the PM --
without success -- that the Home Minister needed to be
replaced. In the people's movement in April 2006, it had
been the King vs. the democrats. If there were another
people's movement in October or November, it would be the
democrats vs. the Maoists. The CPN-M would have difficulty
prevailing.

Comment


--------------------------





9. (C) As the NC-D chief pointed out to PDAS Mann, Maoist
Supremo Prachanda has been talking lately about his
commitment to democracy and indicating flexibility in
meetings with party leaders. At the same time, the CPN-M has
continued its campaign of extortion, violence and
intimidation. Deuba said he was intensely suspicious of
Maoist intentions, but also conceded that he did not want to
fail to deliver peace if that was possible. PDAS Mann's
words of encouragement for a negotiated but meaningful peace
could not have come at a better time for Deuba and the other
key political leaders on the eve of the peace summit.



10. (U) PDAS Mann has cleared this message.
DEAN