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From The Nepali Press
Kamal Thapa

Excerpts of an interview with Kamal Thapa, leader of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party and member of the government committee to monitor the code of conduct.

What is the status of the code of conduct?
It's been only one week since the code of conduct went into effect. There may have been some confusion in implementing it in the beginning. A period of three weeks was specified for the code to be fully enforced. At the moment it remains a formula, some concrete decisions from the government is necessary for implementation and monitoring.

The chief government negotiator, Narayan Singh Pun, has said the Maoists are adding new demands.
I don't know if the Maoists have formally added new demands. Both sides should stop tacking on conditions at this point. The code of conduct says both sides have to gradually release those held in captivity. The government is formulating a policy for the release of Maoist detainees.

Where do you see the role of political parties in the peace process?
The political parties welcomed the ceasefire and expressed hope that will translate into a lasting peace. But they are not actively contributing to this process by participating. Instead of cooperating, the parties are putting forward irrelevant demands and views, which is not helping anyone, least of all the fragile attempts at peace. We must all rise above partisan politics and uphold the national interest.

But Pun has said the peace talks will take place even if the parties don't cooperate.
The participation and agreement of the political parties is a must to provide the peace process with political legitimacy and boost its chances of success. The government must continue to open its doors for consensus.

What are the chances of the political parties aligning with the Maoists?
I don't see any such possibility. Of course, in the context of the country's politics, there are three forces, namely the king, parliamentary parties and the Maoists. But in the context of the peace talks there are only two forces-the establishment and the rebels. Political parties are an integral part of the establishment.

Is your party demanding an all-party government by sacking the Chand administration?
No, we haven't demanded the present government be sacked. But we are not against the formation of an all-party government that can accommodate all political parties. Such a government must be formed within the sphere of the constitution. We must not let the king make political decisions outside the ambit of this constitution.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)