Beijing nudges Nepal Maoists on path of peace

Kathmandu, Dec 19 ( IANS) A top Chinese leader and the point person of the Communist Party of China (CPC) for South Asia has urged Nepal’s Maoist factions – both mainstream and breakaway – not to shy away from key responsibilities and remain in the political mainstream.

Ai Ping, vice minister in the international department of the CPC, who held separate meetings with Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) and Mohan Baidhya, chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M), the breakaway faction of the UCPN-M, urged them to stick to peace and the constitution drafting process.

Ai arrived here Tuesday night on a political mission after which he held talks with several leaders, including the Maoists, who are considered close to Beijing.

Meeting Prachanda for two hours, Ai asked him not to desist from the constitution drafting process.

Beijing started cosying up to the Maoist leadership in Nepal after the UCPN-M emerged as the largest party in the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections and built a strong fraternal relationship.

Beijing continued to host the Maoist leaders even after it split in 2012 and treated both Prachanda and Baidhya equally. Concerned over Nepal’s stability and future political course, Ai told both Maoist leaders that the ongoing peace process is yet to be completed and half the work of the constitution drafting process is yet to be done. Thus all the parties should unite, UCPN-M leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara quoted Ai as saying.

Ai had a three-hour meeting with Baidhya whose CPN-M had boycotted the Nov 19 Constituent Assembly elections in this Himalayan nation.

The Maoist leadership briefed the Chinese delegation about its poll boycott programme and maintained that the new Constituent Assembly would not deliver a statute according to the wishes of the people, said party secretary C.P. Gajurel.

Ai said that many political leaders in Nepal were for bringing the CPN-M on board the Constituent Assembly and wanted to know what the party thought about it.

Distancing himself from the domestic political affairs of Nepal, Ai advised CPN-M leaders to take correct decisions, according to Gajurel.

“We want to see political stability and economic prosperity in Nepal, but we do not advise anyone to do this and that,” Gajurel said quoting Ai. The Chinese leader also said he expected the CPN-M to play a positive role.

Ai also held talks with Nepali Congress president Susil Koirala Thursday and maintained that China does not interfere in Nepal’s internal matters and respects the decision taken by the Nepali leadership.

He told Koirala that suggestions from all Nepali sections should be incorporated in the new constitution so that the aspirations of all Nepali citizens could be met.