No change in US policy on Maoists: US envoy

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Kathmandu, Dec 11: US Ambassador to Nepal Nancy Powell has said that US policy towards the Maoists has not changed and ruled out the possibility of a change in the near future.

In an interview to The Himalayan Times newspaper, she said, ''there is very little that would inspire the US to change its policy vis-a-vis the Maoists, including the organisation's removal from the US government's terrorist watch-list.'' ''It means the US will continue with the policy of not carrying out any official communication with the Maoists,'' she added.

In reply to a question about the possibility of Maoist chairman Prachanda visiting the US, she said that it was not possible ''as long as he is part of a terrorist organisation.'' The Maoist party is in the terrorist list of the US.

''Individual decisions are made on visas,'' she said, ''but it would require us to issue a waiver and I don't think that would be forthcoming soon.'' Ambassador Powell, however, said that the integration of the PLA and the NA, is ''clearly a piece that has to happen" although there are a number of ways of implementing it. ''It is part of the security sector reform, and something that needs to be part of the new Nepal,'' she said.

''The election is called for as part of the comprehensive peace accord, and it will be key in getting a group that has been elected, whoever ends up being elected, to getting a new constitution, to fulfiling the various steps in the process and making sure that you can move forward,''she said.


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