Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
"The solution is- talk, talk and talk"



confirmed he is talking to the Maoists on behalf of the Prime Minister in an interview to Saptahik Bimarsha (21 July, 2000).Excerpts:

Q. It is rumoured that the Prime Minister has asked you to initiate talks with the Maoists. Is that true?
A. Yes the PM has asked me many times to begin talks with the Maoists in order to end the bloodshed and terror facing the country today. The Maoists have to sit down for talks and I am ready to create such an environment.

Q. What did you tell the PM?
A. I told him that the Maoist problem is a political one and it should be solved through talks as soon as possible.

Q. What do think of the PM\'s intention?
A. The PM feels that the talks should begin immediately and everyone should take the initiative to get it started.

Q. If the PM were to give you the authority, would you be able to hold talks with the Maoists?
A. I have sent word to the Maoists regarding negotiations through people close to them. They want to hold talks. And the government is also in favour of it.

Q. If the Maoists don\'t come forward for a dialogue what should the government do?
A. Both the government and the Maoists have to lay down their arms and talk. Nobody will benefit from all the killings. The problem can\'t be solved by oppression.

Q. What is your suggestion to the high-level committee formed to solve this problem? \'
A. [Sher Bahadur] Deubaji should become active. A conducive environment should be created for talks with Maoists. People are being killed daily. I say the solution is talk...talk...talk.

Q. What should others do to make the PM\'s efforts successful?
A. Girijababu is known to be bold. He is known to do what he says. He will become a historical political figure in Nepali politics if he succeeds in solving the Maoist problem through talks.

Q. Is Girija Prasad Koirala the only indispensable personality in the country?
A. At present there is no leader with such firm convictions. Therefore he has to work as his personality demands it.

Q. But it is being said that the PM is facing opposition from within the Nepali Congress?
A. Actually, that is not quite true. To make the country strong the Nepali Congress has to stand as one. I cannot understand why Girijababu is facing opposition. At present the whole nation should be helping the PM. The PM should also make a strong effort to bring all the political parties together to solve this issue.

Q. Is it true that Kishunji (Krishna Prasad Bhattarai) and Girijababu have resolved their differences?
A. Kishunji and Girijababu have to come together. There is no other way for them. The moment they come together the Nepali Congress will also become united.

Q. Will they be able to work together?
A. If they want the best for the nation and the people, they will have to. There should not be any misunderstanding between them. Only their unity can save the situation. This is not the time for them to fight for power. As soon as they unite the Congress will become so strong that no one will be able to break it.

Q. You joined the Congress party once and then left. Why?
A I joined the Congress because I wanted to work. When I did not find such an environment there I left. But there is no alternative to the Nepali Congress in the country. It is the only true gatekeeper of democracy. But the party could do with some improvement.

Q. Won\'t you join any other party?
A. I haven\'t seen any party better than the Congress. In fact, I will join it again if there is a working environment.

Q. What do you think of the King\'s role at present?
A. The King has stuck to his constitutional role so far. The King\'s charisma has grown as a constitutional monarch.

Q. If the palace should once again act against democracy...?
A. The King will only hurt himself if he takes any steps against democracy.

Q. What would happen if such a step were to be taken?
A. Nepalis are very aware. They love democracy. If the King were to act against democracy, the people would go against monarchy. The King should stick to his present role. He should not be instigated by anyone.

Q. Is there no alternative to democracy?
A. Not only in Nepal, there is no alternative to democracy anywhere in the world. Therefore no other system will work in Nepal.

Q. You were a communist leader in the past. Have the communists really become democratic now?
A. In Nepal, the communists have not been able to become fully committed to democracy. Their public face is different from the reality inside. Until they accept constitutional monarchy and multi-party system as part of their ideology, they will not become fully democratic.

Q. But the UML claims to be a true democratic party.
A. UML will become a real democratic party only after they get their act together. The UML has a future only if it presents itself as a socialist party.

Q. Why such anger towards the communists?
A. Even though I was a communist once. I left because I did not like their policies.

Q. Aren\'t you interested in becoming a communist again? A. I will never join a communist party. I have no illusions about them any more. If I do join a political party, it will probably be the Nepali Congress.


Q. Since you have been an Ambassador as well as a Foreign Minister, how do you view the impending visit of the Prime Minister to India?
A. The Prime Minister is going to India as a representative of Nepal and the Nepali people, not just as a leader. Hence, if he can present the problems of Nepal and succeed in convincing India about their seriousness, his stature in Nepali politics will grow.

Q. Under present circumstances, how do you rate Girija Prasad Koirala?
A. Girijababu is a courageous person. He can express his views clearly. My understanding is that Girija Prasad Koirala can also attain the stature of B.P. (Koirala). He can also become immortal in history, but for that he will have to match up to B.P.\'s achievements. The ball is now in Girijababu\'s court.


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