US Sets Terms for Taking Nepal Maoists Off Terrorist List
Posted by Ka Frank on January 20, 2010
This article was published on My Republica on January 20, 2010.
US terms for taking Maoists off terrorist list
KATHMANDU: Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has requested the visiting US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Patrick Moon, to remove his party from the US list of international terrorist organizations.
Moon, who is on a four-day Nepal visit that started Sunday, met Dahal at the latter’s residence on Tuesday morning and discussed issues related to the peace process. During the meeting, Dahal requested Moon to remove the Maoist party from the US terrorist watch list and establish normal relations.
According to Maoist foreign department chief Krishna Bahadur Mahara, the US official told the Maoist leadership that the US would “soon change its policy on the UCPN (Maoist) and treat it like any other political party in Nepal.” However, the US doesn´t seem to have changed its official view of the Maoists.
Responding to myrepublica.com, Patrick Moon said US officials have had a number of discussions with the Maoists, including his own meeting with Dahal on Tuesday, about the factors the US would take into consideration regarding any decision to remove the party from its terrorist list.
“One of the steps is that the Maoists renounce the use of violence and terrorism. Another would be that the Young Communist League abandon violence and criminal activities. The Maoists should also hold accountable those who committed gross human rights abuses and actively participate in, and work together with the other parties, to support the peace process,” he said, adding, “I urged Chairman Dahal to take timely action, and we look forward to continuing the dialogue on this issue.” He stated that the US would like to expand its engagement with the Maoists.
This is not the first time that the Maoists have asked the US to strike their party off the US terrorist list. In their meetings with US officials in the past, the Maoist party raised this issue as one of its major agenda items. Last June, Dahal had approached US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O Blake during his visit to Nepal, and Blake had responded that any US move would depend on Maoist activities in the days ahead.
However, getting their party off the US terror list looks to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the Maoists as the US has taken a tough stance over the former rebels.
Responding to the Maoist request in June, the US recently set out four broad conditions, requiring the Maoists to address a number of issues ranging from handing over to civilian authorities the guilty in the Madi massacre of 2005 and owning up to the murder of two US Mission staffers in Kathmandu in 2001 and 2002 to handing over the guilty in the killing of Kathmandu-based businessman Ramhari Shrestha.
According to sources, the conditions are A) renounce violence and terrorism, B) demonstrate commitment to the peace process, C) make the Maoist-aligned Young Communist League (YCL) renounce violence and orient it towards reform, and D) bring out the truth about the killing of two US Mission staffers in Kathmandu.
Under category A, the Maoists will have to renounce violence not just in words, but also in their actions.
Under category B, there are four items the Maoists will have to address: 1) The Maoists should actively participate in parliament and the constitution-making process. 2) They should hand over the murderers of Ramhari Shrestha to civilian authorities for legal action. Kathmandu-based businessman Shrestha was allegedly kidnapped and subsequently murdered by Maoist combatants at Shaktikhor cantonment in 2008. The prime accused in the case, Kali Babadur Kham, is currently a Maoist central committee member. 3) They should trace the guilty behind the Madi massacre and hand them over to the civilian authorities. 4) They should make public the status of 14 enforced disappearance cases committed by the Maoists between November 2002 and October 2004 in Bardiya district. As per this condition the Maoists will have to help the government in the criminal investigation of these cases and in taking legal action against the guilty so as to address the report of the OHCHR.
Under category C, the party should make the YCL renounce violence and orient it towards reform. The US does not merely want the Maoists to do this in words, but also in actual practice. The YCL chief will have to publicly vow that the YCL is a purely political organization, and doesn´t adopt violent tactics. Even this will not be enough. The ICRC, the UN and independent political observers will verify if the YCL has really renounced violence and is reform-oriented.
Under the fourth category, the US wants the Maoists to provide facts about the murder of two US Mission employees in Kathmandu as well as the bombing of the American Center in Kathmandu in 2004. Not only that, the US has demanded that the Maoists formally tell the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that the party was behind those incidents of violence, and compensate the kin of the victims.