US keen on helping Nepalese government, says envoy

February 12th, 2009 - 3:03 am ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Feb 12 (DPA) A senior US State Department official said Wednesday that his country was keen on helping Nepal’s Maoist-led government.
US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, who arrived in Kathmandu Wednesday on a two-day visit, said he would hold talks on a range of issues with Nepalese leaders.

“We will be talking about how the US can contribute to Nepal’s development and how we can perhaps continue to assist in the countries political process further,” Boucher told reporters.

Boucher immediately went into talks with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, whose Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists, is still on the US list of organisations supporting terrorism.

“Talks with the prime minister focused on the US economic support to Nepal as well as the latest political and peace process,” Boucher said.

“Maoist continuing to remain on the US list of organisations supporting terrorist activities also featured during the talks,” Boucher said but did not elaborate.

The US has expressed repeated concerns over violence by groups close to the Maoists.

Washington only made diplomatic contact with the Maoists last year, months after the former rebels formed a coalition government.

The Maoists were put in the US terrorism list in 2002 after the communist rebels launched a series of attacks against Nepalese government offices, police and the army.

The Maoists formally gave up fighting after signing a peace deal with the government in November 2006.

They emerged as the single largest party in elections last year and formed a coalition government.

Boucher is to also meet with President Ram Baran Yadav, Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav, Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa as well as other politicians and government officials during his stay.

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