Nepal Maoists on Tuesday asked the U.S. to lift the ‘terrorist tag’ attached to their party by removing it from a State Department list of foreign terror groups.
Three years after they shed weapons, Maoist chief Prachanda made the plea to the visiting U.S. Assistant Deputy Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Patrick Moon who said the U.S. government was preparing the ground for lifting the tag.
The Maoists were at tenterhooks when their strongman visited the U.S. last year as the prime minister, fearing that Americans might invoke the terrorist tag.
During the meeting, the party asked the US to treat it like other political parties, said Krishna Bahadur Mahara, party’s Foreign Affairs Department chief.
Mr. Moon told Mr. Prachanda that the U.S. government was preparing for removing the terrorist tag, according to Mr. Mahara.
The U.S. official also appreciated the formation of a high-level political mechanism to expedite the peace process and the constitution drafting with the inclusion of top leaders including the Maoists.
He expressed hope that the high level body would succeed in ending the current political deadlock.
The UCPN-Maoist party is on the U.S.’ list of ‘foreign terrorist organisations’.
It was listed in October 2003 under an executive order issued shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks. About 1,000 organisations are proscribed under the list.