Govt., rebels sign 25-point code of conduct; agree to invite int’l team to monitor ceasefire

 After over five-hour-long marathon talks, members of the government and Maoist negotiation teams have agreed to a 25-point code of conduct late Friday to be observed by both the sides during the period of ceasefire. The code of conduct, jointly signed by Home Minister and leader of the government negotiation team Krishna P Sitaula and coordinator of the Maoist negotiation team Krishna Bahadur Mahara, says both the parties would cease all types of military activities during the period of ceasefire. They have also agreed not to call 'bandh' or transport strike throughout ceasefire. The code of conduct, however, says rallies and meetings could be organized peacefully. Similarly, both the sides have agreed not to create any obstructions in the movement of medicines, food, construction materials meant for development programmes and goods for daily consumption. The code of conduct says that no donations would be collected, whether cash or kind, through coercion.Both the sides have agreed to make public whereabouts of "disappeared people," help displaced people to return to their villages and release the detainees gradually. Similarly, both the government and CPN (Maoist) have agreed to involve national and international team in the monitoring of ceasefire "on the basis of mutual consensus." The agreement, however, doesn't specifically mention whether the international monitor would be the United Nations or any other international agency. The code of conduct, which has come into force from Friday, may be amended on the basis of mutual consensus, both the parties said. Talking to reporters briefly after the first round of formal talks, Maoist leader Mahara said things this time were drastically different this time. He said he hoped that his party might not have to return to war this time. "We had gone to the war a decade ago out of compulsion," he added. Similarly, Home Minister Sitaula expressed hope that a durable solution would be found through peace talks to the decade-old armed conflict. Both the sides said peace negotiations would continue and date and venue of second round of talks would be decided through mutual consultation. The peace talks took place at the deluxe Le Meridian hotel cum resort at Gokarna, to the east of capital, Kathmandu, on Friday.