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Last Updated: Friday, 6 January 2006, 17:57 GMT
EU 'regrets' end of Nepal truce
Maoists in rural Nepal
The rebels abandoned their four-month truce on Monday
The European Union says it regrets the end of a unilateral ceasefire by Maoist rebels in Nepal.

The rebels called off the four-month truce accusing the government troops of continuing offensive operations.

The EU also expressed disappointment over the government's refusal to reciprocate the ceasefire.

The EU urged both parties to immediately end hostilities and start a dialogue to peacefully resolve the long-running conflict.

The EU joins the United Nations and the United States which have also expressed their concern over the ending of the truce.

In the latest violence, two policemen are reported to have been killed in the south-west of the country.

'No trust'

In a statement received in Kathmandu on Friday, the EU said the end of the ceasefire was a retrograde step.

It recalled its repeated plea to the rebels to end the violence and human rights abuses.

It also said it was deeply disappointed by the government's failure to match the rebel truce.

The government has refused the offer despite international pressure, saying it could not trust the rebels.

The rebels have accused the government of provoking them into breaking the truce.

Violence

Violence had decreased significantly over the past four months but has increased since the truce was called off.

On Friday two policemen were killed and two wounded in a Maoist attack in the south western town of Bhairahawa, officials said, after a group of rebels on motorbikes opened fire at a police checkpoint near the border with India.

There has been no word yet about any rebel casualties.

The incident occurred a day after three policemen died in a similar attack in another south-western border town, Nepalgunj.

In a separate incident on Friday, the army said that government troops killed a rebel on a road in Rautahat, in the south of the country.

More than 12,000 people have died over 10 years of Maoist insurgency that is aimed at replacing the monarchy with a communist republic.


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