India hopes people choose their own government in Nepal

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New Delhi, Sep 18 (UNI) India today hoped that all concerned parties in Nepal would implement previous understandings and said the commmon goal must remain to enable the people to choose their own government and future.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee while refraining from directly commenting on the situation in the Himalayan kingdom, described these as their ''internal issues'' and said India hoped that all the parties involved would resolve differences democratically.

''These are internal issues of Nepal, to be resolved by Nepal itself. We would hope that all concerned will implement previous understandings, that underpin Nepal's peaceful transition, and that differences will be resolved democratically. The common goal must remain to enable the people of Nepal to choose their own future and the manner of their governance,'' he said while on his way back from Seoul.

The Minister made the comments as reports came in that Maoist rebels had quit the interim government and vowed to disrupt preparations for the elections next month unless the monarchy was abolished immediately.

The Maoists also warned that they could take up arms again if their demands were not met.

The External Affairs Minister was returning from Seoul after co-Chairing the Fifth India-South Korea Joint Commission Meeting there.

The statement came three days after Foreign Secretary Shivshanker Menon's visit to the Himalayan kingdom for talks with Nepalese leaders.

Mr Menon held meetings with political leaders including Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, on the political situation and the upcoming constituent assembly elections in the Himalayan kingdom.

He also met Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan, CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal and Nepali Congress (Democratic) president Sher Bahadur Deuba.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) has expressed concern that Maoist army personnel were observed outside the main cantonment site in Nawalparasi and its satellite sites in the western region of the Himalayan kingdom.

The UNMIN said it had deployed three mobile teams to monitor the situation.

''This is a serious violation of commitments made in the agreement of arms and armed personnel reached between the Maoists and their partners in the Interim Government,'' the UNMIN said.

The mission said it had conveyed its concerns to the political and military leadership of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) which advised that it had ordered the immediate return of the personnel to the cantonment sites.

Under last year's agreement ending the civil war, the Maoists had agreed that their combatants would be confined at the cantonment sites where they and their weapons could be registered and verified in the lead-up to Constituent Assembly elections scheduled for November.

The UNMIN said ''while the verification process of Maoist army personnel is proceeding well, implementing the commitments in relation to the management of arms and armed personnel without exception, is essential to the overall peace process and in particular to preparing a free and fair atmosphere for the Constituent Assembly election.'' UNI

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