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Last Updated:  Thursday, 13 March, 2003, 14:48 GMT
Nepal peace plan code unveiled
By Sushil Sharma
BBC correspondent in Kathmandu

A code of conduct has been worked out for the proposed peace talks between the Nepali Government and Maoist rebels.

Maoist rebels
The rebels say they are committed to peace
The move is expected to clear the way for early talks aimed at ending the long-running insurgency.

Government negotiator and a senior minister, Narayan Singh Pun, along with the chief of the five-member rebel negotiators, Baburam Bhattarai, have signed the code of conduct.

The date and the venue of the talks have, however, not yet been set.

The proposal was made public at a joint news conference in the capital, Kathmandu, more than a month after the government and the rebels declared a ceasefire.


Mr Pun and a member of the rebel negotiating team, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, addressed the news conference.

Both pledged their commitment to the success of the peace talks.

Mr Pun said that the talks would begin at the earliest possible time.

Under the code of conduct, the two sides agreed to cease from armed and provocative activities and also agreed on fair access to the state-run media.

The government also agreed to begin the process of releasing the Maoists who were being held.

Both sides decided to form a joint panel to supervise the working of the code of conduct, which they said would come into immediate effect.

The peace moves have raised hopes about ending the seven years of bloody violence in which 7,000 people have died.

But there has also been some scepticism. Record levels of violence followed the breakdown of the previous peace talks in November 2001.

The rebels have been waging an armed struggle with the ultimate objective of replacing the monarchy with a communist republic.

They recently softened their positions and insisted on a round-table conference, an interim government and a constituent assembly to frame a new constitution.

The proposed peace talks are expected to address these issues.

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