The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Carter set to hit Nepal peace road

New Delhi, April 7: The crisis in Nepal has suddenly got a higher profile.

Two international efforts ' one led by former US President Jimmy Carter and another by the Henri Durant Centre of Geneva ' are in the offing to facilitate the resolution of the festering political situation in Nepal. Jimmy Carter, a Nobel Peace laureate, is likely to attempt such facilitation during his visit to Nepal from May 4 to 10.

Ostensibly, Carter is on a personal visit with his wife and son and plans to go trekking in the hills of Mustang. But he is also scheduled to meet King Gyanendra and the leaders of the main political parties.

India, which has traditionally not encouraged any foreign mediation in Nepal, except, perhaps, its own facilitation as its most important neighbour, is following a wait-and-watch policy. New Delhi is neither dismissing the Carter and Henri Durant Centre moves nor going out of its way to welcome them.

Sources in the government would only say that New Delhi was fully aware of these efforts but did not want to comment on what value they might add in resolving the crisis in Nepal. Carter, through the Carter Centre in Atlanta, wants to facilitate a tripartite dialogue between Nepalese political parties, King Gyanendra and the Maoists.

The Henri Durant Centre wants to keep the monarch out and facilitate a dialogue between the political parties and the Maoists.

Preparations for Carter’s visit to Nepal have been going on for nearly a year now. Officials of the Carter Centre have made two visits to Nepal and India.

Earlier, the effort was to assess whether or not Carter should have a telephone conversation with King Gyanendra. Now, the telephone call has been upgraded to a personal visit.

The Carter Centre has been addressing the Nepal crisis by inviting Nepalese politicians to Atlanta. It has organised two seminars on Nepal ' once during the last tenure of Sher Bahadur Deuba as Prime Minister and then another in late 2005. It also wanted to invite senior officers of the Royal Nepalese Army along with some centrist politicians to Atlanta but somehow that did not work out.

“What will Carter do' Nepal is not an easy territory to get into for such efforts. We have to ask whether the three actors ' the political parties, the Maoists and King Gyanendra ' are willing to accept such facilitation,” sources in New Delhi said.

As of now, it is not clear whether the seven-party alliance and the Maoists would want to share the table with King Gyanendra at Carter’s behest. There is no unanimity even within the political parties for Carter’s facilitation.

As for the dialogue that the Henri Durant Centre wants to promote between the political parties and the Maoists, it is already taking place without their help.

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