Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09KATHMANDU461
2009-06-03 09:08:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Kathmandu
Cable title:  

NEPAL: MAOIST LEADER AFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR

Tags:  PGOV PTER KDEM IN NP 
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KATHMANDU 000461 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/03/2019
TAGS: PGOV PTER KDEM IN NP
SUBJECT: NEPAL: MAOIST LEADER AFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR
DEMOCRATIC PROCESS BUT PLANS UNCLEAR

Classified By: Ambassador Nancy J. Powell. Reasons 1.4 (b/d)

Summary
-------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KATHMANDU 000461

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/03/2019
TAGS: PGOV PTER KDEM IN NP
SUBJECT: NEPAL: MAOIST LEADER AFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR
DEMOCRATIC PROCESS BUT PLANS UNCLEAR

Classified By: Ambassador Nancy J. Powell. Reasons 1.4 (b/d)

Summary
--------------


1. (C) United Communist Party of Nepal - Maoist (UCPN-M)
chairman Pushpa Dahal told the Ambassador June 2 that the
Maoists intended to continue to support the democratic
process in Nepal. Dahal, who was accompanied by ex-Finance
Minister Baburam Bhattarai, said that the Maoists would
participate in the peace process and the
constitution-drafting process. But he added that they were
also planning a series of protests against President Yadav's
decision to reinstate Chief of Army Staff General Katawal.
The UCPN-M chief admitted that his party had made some
mistakes over the previous year in its dealings with the
other major parties. He urged the U.S. to use its influence
on India to prevail upon New Delhi to return to its old
position vis a vis the Maoists. Dahal said he would take
advantage of his increased free time to deal with
"extremists" in his own party.

Dahal Affirms Support for Democracy
--------------


2. (C) In the Ambassador's first meeting with United
Communist Party of Nepal - Maoist (UCPN-M) chairman and
former Prime Minister Pushpa Dahal since the swearing-in of
Nepal's new government, Dahal re-affirmed his support for
Nepal's multiparty democracy. The UCPN-M chairman pointed
out, despite their differences with the other major parties,
that Maoists had allowed the Constituent Assembly (CA) to
meet and elect veteran Communist Party of Nepal - United
Marxist Leninist (UML) leader Madhav Kumar Nepal Prime
Minister on May 23. Dahal, and former Finance Minister
Baburam Bhattarai who joined him, stressed that the Maoists
had made a considered decision as a party several years ago
to pursue peaceful, democratic politics and they were not
going to let themselves be provoked into returning to the
politics of violence.

Maoists To Participate In Peace Process, Constitution Drafting
-------------- --------------


3. (C) Dahal and Bhattarai also emphasized that, even though
the Maoists are now in the opposition, they intend to
continue to participate actively in the peace process and the

drafting of the country's new constitution. The UCPN-M
chairman said that he hoped the Maoists would be permitted to
continue to chair the Special Committee on Supervision,
Integration and Rehabilitation of Maoist Army Combatants.
That would allow the process to go more smoothly. However,
that decision was up to the new government. And he
confirmed, in response to a question from the Ambassador,
that the Maoists would still take part in the Special
Committee even if a different party was in the chair. (Note:
Former PM Dahal was the chair of the key, four-party,
8-person committee.) Dahal said it was also not yet decided
who would chair the main constitution drafting committee now
that M.K. Nepal had become Prime Minister. The Maoist
chairman pointed out that the first of the subject committees
to present its concept paper for the constitution, which
happened a few days' earlier, was chaired by a Maoist.

Protests Planned; Scope Unclear
--------------


4. (C) The former Prime Minister stated that the Maoists were
still determined to uphold "civilian supremacy" in contesting
the "unconstitutional" decision by President Ram Baran Yadav
to reinstate Chief of Army Staff General Katawal, after
Katawal's sacking by the Maoist cabinet. Dahal mentioned
that a series of protests were planned, but, even when
pressed, he was vague about the details. Subsequent press
reporting indicates that the Maoists are launching protests
against the President's decision at the district level.
According to the CA Chairman's personal assistant, they have

KATHMANDU 00000461 002 OF 002


also been boycotting parliamentary sessions of the CA. They
have not resumed the disruptions of the parliament which they
were engaging in immediately prior to M.K. Nepal's election.

"We Made Some Mistakes"
--------------


5. (C) The UCPN chairman admitted, "We made some mistakes" in
how we handled the other major parties over the past year.
Dahal conceded that if the UCPN-M had agreed to give the
Nepali Congress the Defense Ministry, a government of
national unity might have been formed and the Maoist
government would still be in place. More recently, in
hindsight, the former PM admitted, the UML's proposal, which
the Maoists rejected, to have General Katawal and his deputy
step down in favor of the third man in the NA might have been
a good solution. They had made other mistakes, he and
Bhattarai stated, and the party was currently in the process
of reviewing them and learning from them.

Help with India; Dealing with Maoist Extremists
-------------- --


6. (C) Dahal also appealed to the United States to use its
influence with India to persuade New Delhi to return to its
old, more positive position toward the Maoists. The UCPN-M
chairman said that the Maoists had been openly critical of
India's role in Nepal because its policy toward the Maoists
appeared in recent weeks to have changed. He professed to
not know exactly why that had happened. (Comment: In post's
view, the appeal is disingenuous since Dahal should know full
well that it was his determination to sack Katawal in the
face of clear Indian dissatisfaction and an absence of
consensus even within his own coalition which was largely to
blame.) Dahal also said that he was taking advantage of his
additional free time since stepping down as PM to reform his
party, and in particular, to deal with the "extremists" who
opposed the Maoist policy of participating in democratic,
multiparty politics. He hoped to complete the process within
2-3 months.

Comment
--------------


7. (C) Despite the democratic rhetoric, there is considerable
skepticism among Nepalis and within the U.S. Mission about
whether the Maoists do in fact intend to keep their protests
peaceful. Furthermore, as a senior UML leader pointed out to
Emboffs June 3, the notion that the Maoists can somehow
continue their support for the peace process and the
constitution, while maintaining a series of protests on the
streets and in the parliament against the government is
unrealistic. If they Maoist protests turn violent, as many
observers worry they will, the peace process and the
prospects for a new constitution will suffer.
POWELL