Kathmandu, Sep 8 (IANS) The Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) has welcomed the US State Department removing it from its list of terrorist organisations - six years after the end of the armed rebellion in this Himalayan country.
In an interview with Xinhua, Agni Sapkota, a former minister and currently spokesperson and member of the Central Committee of the Unified CPN-Maoist Party, said that they welcomed the decision of the US.
"We are happy that the US has finally removed the terrorist tag in our party although it is a little bit late. As you know, we have been engaged for a long time in the political process in Nepal. It took a long time for the decision due to procedural task that has to be completed by the US government," Sapkota said.
In a statement issued Thursday in Washington, the State Department said that the CPN-Maoist, after it joined the mainstream political arena in Nepal, is no longer engaged in terrorist activities against the US and other countries.
Sapkota said that the people's movement that they have started some 17 years ago was never meant to create havoc and threaten the security of the international community but it was waged merely to promote the welfare and well being of Nepal's marginalised population.
According to him, the decision of the US State Department was only a confirmation that the path taken by the Maoist party was the correct path."
The US action has taken cognizance of our commitment to move the peace process forward as one of the main players in Nepal's mainstream politics," he said.
Sapkota said that the process of convincing the US to remove the terrorist tag from the Maoist Party was long and tedious. It included visits by party leaders to Washington, to lobby and interact with American officials and to explain to them the party's sincerity in abiding by the peace process and not to engage in any terror acts.
"Obviously, after six years, we have earned the trust of the US government," Sapkota said.
He said that their party has been working to be removed from the terrorist list since it declared an end to the civil war and joined mainstream politics after signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in November 2006.
"Our party's efforts further intensified when the party obtained the largest majority in the elections for members of the Constituent Assembly held in 2008," he said.
Sapkota added that the US decision could mean not only more interest from American businessmen to invest in Nepal but also more American tourists to visit the country.
"The Sep 6 decision of the US State Department would certainly help in disseminating positive information about our country to the world," he said.
He added that while Nepal would now work to expand its cordial relations with the US, this does not mean that the country would abandon its relations with its neighbors such as China to the north and India to the south.