Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press

Historic opportunity
Editorial in Kantipur, 4 September

The ceasefire announcement came just as the parties and the Maoists were taking forward their rapprochement through unofficial contacts. The parties have cautiously welcomed the ceasefire. Even by itself a ceasefire is a positive step towards replacing guns with talks. The royal government must respond with its own cessation of hostilities and a commitment that it is ready to forge a politically negotiated settlement. Since the conflict is now a trilateral one, it is not enough for two forces to sit together. The lesson from past ceasefires is that there has to be a confidence building effort and for this there is a need to accept international mediation for which the UN may be the right body. But for this, there has to be agreement and cooperation from neighbouring countries.

Sliver of hope
Editorial in Nispakshya, 7 September

The Maoists announced a unilateral ceasefire under pressure from India. The rebels quickly orchestrated this scenario after they learned that King Gyanendra would be attending the UN General Assembly (the visit has been cancelled) and that the international community would surely lash out at them during the meeting.

The announcement is also aimed at engaging the seven political parties, which have echoed the rebels' demand for a constituent assembly and to silence the ambassadors of the US and the UK, the chief of the UN human rights commission's Nepal office and European Commission officials, among others, because they have been condemning the rebels.

The Maoists know the ceasefire will provide them a breathing space in which they can treat their wounded cadres, collect donations, get organised and consolidate their strength. They are also well aware the move will reveal them as supporters of peace talks. It is a well-calculated ploy to supersede the king's government and to mislead the people.

Yet whatever their intentions, the fact remains that the Maoists, labelled "terrorists" by the government, have announced a three-month halt. Even if they made the move with ill intentions, the government, parties, civil society and the international community must use this development for the good of the people.

All quarters should take initiatives to transform this temporary ceasefire into a permanent one. Such actions will compel the rebels to accept a permanent ceasefire, even if they're acting for their own interest now. If we fail to move forward, the Maoist's terrorism will result in even worse bloodshed.

Trilateral talks
Editorial in Rajdhani, 4 September

This is not the first time the Maoists have declared a ceasefire. But it is precisely because they were used as a political tactic that there is still distrust among the parties about their sincerity. The rebels have sensationlised the ceasefire to distract rival political forces and to strengthen their own position. This is another opportunity for the Maoists to display political integrity and establish trust. The Maoist leadership must know this. The fact that the Maoists have cited the international move to declare Nepal a failed state shows their nationalist credentials and also proves that they are trying to erase the perception that they are sponsored from abroad and exhibit their democratic credentials. It is now necessary to turn this unilateral ceasefire into a bilateral one and to initiate trilateral talks with the royal government. There will be no solution without involving the state.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)