November 26, 2020

Nepal has rare hope after years of uncertainty

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KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — After years of political paralysis, the impoverished, war-scarred nation of Nepal appears finally to be moving forward.

Thousands of former Maoist rebels stuck in camps for five years are joining the army or going home to start new lives. Long-feuding political parties have called a truce and started talks on how to restructure the country.

The progress has stirred cautious optimism that this Himalayan nation — one of the world’s poorest — can build on the hopes for economic development promised by the end of a brutal civil war five years ago and the abolition of the monarchy in 2008.

While major hurdles remain, including the writing of a constitution, any movement is seen as significant in a country that has had five coalition governments since elections were last held in 2008.

“The agreements are major achievements in terms of resolving issues relating to the Maoists,” said Shridhar Khatri, an analyst with the Katmandu-based South Asia Center for Policy Studies. “It would not have been possible for the peace process and constitution making to proceed without this latest progress.”

Political bickering has prevented the government from starting any major development projects in a country whose average per capita income of $490 makes it the 17th poorest, according to World Bank figures.

 

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