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'Nepal King should assume more ceremonial role'

By Staff
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Washington, Apr 21: The United States has asked Nepal King Gyanendra to 'assume a more ceremonial role' to allow the political process to move forward and stem the deteriorating political situation in the country.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Richard Boucher told reporters yesterday that the United States were in constant touch with other governments, including India, on the situation in the Himalayan kingdom and were trying its best to 'ensure a peaceful restoration of democracy' there.

Mr Boucher, who has just returned from a trip to South and Central Asia, said all the parties, should show restraint to end violence before steps could be taken up to restore democracy in the mountainous nation .

''It is also time that the Maoists as well adopt a real ceasefire to end their violence and participate solely in the political process,'' he added.

He said, ''We think it is time for the King to talk to political parties so that they can appoint a Prime Minister to take over governance and it is time for the King to adopt a more ceremonial role and let the political process go forward.''

Mr Boucher said the United States is prepared to help the political parties with training and organising, to ensure an effective governance and it could also help in setting up an anti-corruption bureau and an election commission to further the democratic process.

''We are also very concerned in the last few days that the security forces used excessive force resulting in quite a few deaths,'' he added. Meanwhile, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack at his daily briefing yesterday said, ''Frankly, at this point, the decisions on the immediate fate of democracy in Nepal and certainly the immediate future course of Nepal, rests squarely with the King. He is the one who can take these decisions. We have called upon him to take these decisions that will benefit him, the nation and the Nepalese people.''

''Violence will only beget violence and the security forces need to remember that they are the security forces for a democratic country and it is important that all acts do not lead to an escalation of violence,'' he added.

UNI

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