King Gyanendra's trip to London 24 August-10 September is istensibly for a routine health checkup. But what is raising questions is the timing. The country is at the crossroads again, and we must ask if it was prudent on His Majesty's part to leave at a time of the present political mess. The five political parties are launching a 'decisive' movement with activists converging on the capital from 5 September.
The third round of peace talks were inconclusive. Although they have agreed on a fourth round it's very likely both sides will become more firmly entrenched. What the talks need to be successful is flexibility, from both sides.
The issue then, is gauging how much the government will bend before it breaks. It's up to the king whether to proceed with the fourth round of talks or to prevent the anticipated violence in the street agitation. Sources say that Girija Prasad Koirala of the Nepali Congress and Madhab Kumar Nepal (UML) are adamant to go ahead with their agitation, no matter where it takes us.