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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06KATHMANDU2903 2006-10-31 11:27:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kathmandu
Cable title:  

PEACE AGREEMENT MOVING CLOSER?

Tags:   PGOV PTER MARR NP 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L KATHMANDU 002903 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/30/2016
TAGS: PGOV PTER MARR NP
SUBJECT: PEACE AGREEMENT MOVING CLOSER?


Classified By: Ambassador James F. Moriarty. Reasons 1.4 (b/d)

Summary
-------



1. (C) Dr. Shehkar Koirala, Prime Minister G.P. Koirala's
nephew and a key member of the Government of Nepal (GON)'s
informal talks team, told the DCM October 27 that the two
sides were converging on a peace deal. He claimed the GON
and the Maoists had managed to reach agreement on nearly all
of the open issues in informal talks since the last peace
summit on October 15. He requested technical assistance from
the USG in three areas: federalism, methods of seat
allocation in the constituent assembly, and, crucially,
modalities of securing Maoist arms. Dr. Koirala repeated the
final request on October 30. He told the P/E chief that, if
there had been agreement on the final issue, the PM and
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) Supremo Prachanda
would have called for another peace summit October 30. As it
was, on October 29, after Prachanda met informally with the
PM, the CPN-M declared a three-month extension of their
cease-fire.

GON and Maoists Near A Deal, Including On the Monarchy


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



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





2. (C) On October 27, Prime Minister G.P. Koirala's nephew
Dr. Shehkar Koirala, who is a member of the Central Working
Committee (CWC) of the Nepali Congress Party (NC) and a key
member of the Government of Nepal's (GON's) informal talks
team, reported to the DCM that the GON and the Maoists were
converging on a peace deal. He cited at length the areas of
agreement between the two sides, to include, he claimed, the
question of the monarchy. Dr. Koirala stated that even the
CPN-M agreed that the King's future should be decided by the
constituent assembly. That presumed, however, a deal on arms
management. If there were no deal, he said, the Maoists
planned to join the Communist Party of Nepal - United Marxist
Leninist in supporting a referendum on the monarchy. The
remaining issues regarding the king were resolved, he
maintained. King Gyanendra would retain no political role.
All of the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) members and the Maoists
had decided that the King would be stripped of all property
except his personal property. What he had inherited from his
late brother, would go into a trust the PM would control.
What he had inherited from the dynasty, Dr. Koirala said,
would become the property of the state.

Near Consensus On Other Issues


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





3. (C) Dr. Koirala told the DCM that the nature of Nepalese
federalism was a bigger issue than the future of the
monarchy. The Maoist plan to break the country down by
ethnic or religious lines was a disaster, but some form of
devolution of power from the capital to the regions was
necessary. He requested U.S. technical assistance in this
area. With respect to the interim parliament, the plan was
to carry over the existing 200-plus Members of the House of
Representatives (the lower house) and add roughly another
hundred to give the Maoists parity with the Communist Party
of Nepal - United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) and to increase
other Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) representation. With
respect to the constituent assembly, PM Koirala's nephew said
the CPN-M had accepted a mixed system with 205 members
directly elected as at present in the lower house of
Parliament. The remaining seats, around 100, would be
allocated based on a proportional system not yet agreed upon.
In this area, the CWC member also requested U.S.
suggestions. The two sides were still negotiating over
whether the interim government would assign four seats each
to the NC, the CPN-UML and the CPN-M or five seats each, not
including the PM. PM Koirala wanted the Nepali Congress
splinter party, the Nepali Congress - Democratic, to have
four or five seats also, but Prachanda was willing to allow
them only three to four. The smaller SPA parties, Dr.
Koirala noted, would get one seat each.

Arms Management


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




4. (C) The biggest issue, according to the Prime Minister's
nephew, was Maoist arms management. Dr. Koirala indicated
that the PM was pushing for the "single-key" option with a UN
seal. He asked whether the USG could provide additional
options for the GON's consideration. The DCM replied that,
we would be back in touch with him shortly with our views,
but that our guiding principle was that the option chosen be
one that clearly diminished the ability of the Maoists to
intimidate the Nepali people. The USG would be concerned if
Maoist Supremo Prachanda retained the only key and was able
as a result to continue his party's reign of fear. Dr.
Koirala concluded by saying that informal talks were
continuing between the two sides on this issue, with
assistance from the United Nations. The Prime Minister's
nephew reiterated his request for USG guidance on the
specifics of arms management in a phone call to the
Political-Economic chief on October 30. During that call, he
also mentioned that the PM and Prachanda had failed to have a
meeting of the minds on the issue in an informal meeting
Shehkar Koirala attended the day before. If they had agreed,
another summit meeting of the SPA and the CPN-M -- the first
since October 15 -- could have been held October 30.

Cease-fire Extended


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





5. (U) On October 29 after his meeting with the PM, Prachanda
announced a second three-month extension of the CPN-M
unilateral cease-fire first declared in late April 2006.
(Note: Even some Nepalis were not clear when the old
cease-fire expired because of the differences between the
Roman calendar and the Nepali calendar.) The Maoist leader
reportedly cited the "positive direction" in which the peace
process was progressing. The goal of the extension, he
added, was to "lead the talks to a positive conclusion."

Comment


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





6. (C) While the peace talks between the Government of Nepal
and the Maoists could still break down, there is also an
increasing possibility that they will lead to some sort of
deal, at least in principle, in the not-too-distant future.
The immediate issue is how to secure Maoist arms, but as Dr.
Koirala's requests for U.S. technical assistance reveal,
there are more issues which have yet to be hammered down. We
are working with our Mission's USAID conflict and transition
experts and public diplomacy section to respond to his
requests. We will stay in close touch with him as we enter
what could be the endgame for this stage of Nepal's peace
process.
MORIARTY