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Wednesday, August 31, 2011     GET REAL

U.S. will work with Nepal's new Maoist PM despite listing his party as terror organization

By Anil Giri

Notwithstanding the fact that the State Department continues to list Nepal’s Maoists party as a global terrorist organization, Obama administration officials have made it clear that they look forward to working with Nepal’s newly appoint Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, who is a deputy chairman of the party.


Nepal's new prime minister, Baburam Bhattarai.     AFP
In Kathmandu, U.S. Ambassador to Nepal Scott H. DeLisi was the first foreign diplomat to meet the PM Bhattarai after he assumed office. The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu sent a congratulatory message to Bhattarai upon his Aug. 28 election as Nepal’s new PM.

“We are hopeful that he and his team will vigorously pursue the priority goals he has spoken of: the completion of the peace process and the drafting of Nepal’s new constitution,” a U.S. Embassy release said.

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“We look forward to working with the new government, particularly on the serious economic and developmental challenges facing Nepal in an effort to create an environment of growth and achievement from which all Nepalis can benefit.”

The U.S. had listed the Nepal’s Maoist party as Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 and is included on the Terrorism Exclusion List, pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 2001. The list has been renamed Specially Designated Nationals.

“First, we congratulate the people of Nepal on the election of the new prime minister,” State department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.

“We look forward to working with Prime Minister Bhattarai and continuing the warm and constructive relationship that we’ve had with Nepal. We’re hopeful that his election will give renewed momentum both to the peace process and to constitution drafting.”

"We are hopeful that we will be able to have a good working relationship," said Nuland.

When asked about the possibility of removing the terrorist tag against Nepal’s Maoist party, Nuland said that there is a whole range of issues that go into the designation, and that the U.S. was not prepared to de-list the party at present.

“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. We have to review each of these on a case-by-case basis, and we have to — and we continue to work on progress as we can to work through the issues that led to the issues that led to the listing in the first place,” she told the reporters.

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