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Last Updated: Monday, 31 July 2006, 18:19 GMT 19:19 UK
Nepal PM insists Maoists disarm
By Bhagirath Yogi
BBC News, Kathmandu

Staffan de Mistura, head of the UN team
The UN team have held talks with Maoist rebels
Nepalese Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has said that Maoist rebels will not be included in the government unless they give up arms.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Koirala's foreign affairs adviser, Suresh Chalise, said the PM had urged the UN to help monitor and disarm the rebels.

The rebels have said they are not ready for disarmament and insist the army should also follow the same provision.

The government has refused to oblige with this demand by the rebels.

The leader of the visiting UN team, Staffan de Mistura - who met Mr Koirala on Monday - has urged both the government and the Maoists to evolve a common minimum position regarding the management of arms before the mission leaves on Thursday.

On Friday the UN team met Maoist leader Prachanda, who described the meeting as "very positive".

'Unique opportunity'

Mr Chalise said the government was working to evolve a consensus on arms management but did not say whether such a consensus was likely to emerge before the UN team left for New York.

Maoist rebels
Maoists object to the government's disarmament demand

On its return, the team will be presenting its report to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The Nepalese government had invited the seven-member UN team to determine the nature and scope of the UN's engagement in the country's peace process and ensure that the Nepalese Army is not used during the proposed elections to the Constituent Assembly.

The decade-long Maoist insurgency in Nepal has already claimed more than 13,000 lives.

Analysts say if the UN is able to get both sides to reconcile their differences, especially on the issue of "arms management", it will be nothing less than a breakthrough.

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