U.S. keeps Nepal Maoists on their anti-terrorist blacklist
Posted by Mike E on September 2, 2011
US keeps Nepal Maoists on blacklist despite new PM
Baburam Bhattarai, a senior leader of the former rebels whose insurgency helped topple the monarchy, was selected Sunday as prime minister in a new bid to end a prolonged political deadlock in the Himalayan nation.
The United States has pledged to work with Bhattarai but, in response to a question, said that the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist would remain on a list of terrorist organizations whose members are barred from US travel.
“While the party has taken some positive steps, we continue to have areas of concern which must be addressed before the party could be de-listed,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
The Maoists have long sought the removal of the designation. Nuland dismissed suggestions that the listing would complicate US ties, saying: “We are hopeful that we will be able to have a good working relationship.”
“There are a number of governments around the world where individual folks, individual parties in a coalition, have been designated, and we continue to work as best we can there,” she said.
She did not specify criteria, but US diplomats in the past have urged the Maoists to renounce definitively the use of violence as a political instument.
Maoist rebels waged a a bloody conflict that left 16,000 dead before turning to mainstream politics and winning elections in 2008. The Maoists were blamed for a 2004 attack on the American Center in Kathmandu.
The Maoists are on the US Terrorism Exclusion List but not the tougher Foreign Terrorist Organization List, which would make it a crime to provide financial support to the group.
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