The United States has expressed deep concern over the stalled peace process in Nepal where violent clashes between police and Maoist supporters killed at least five people Friday.
U.S. Embassy Charge d'Affaires Randy Berry says Washington is concerned about the Maoists' recent seizures of crops and lands. He described these actions as inconsistent with their stated commitment to the peace process.
Berry met Nepalese Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Friday in Katmandu in the wake of violent clashes in western Nepal. He urged the two sides to expedite the peace process.The clashes erupted Friday after police tried to remove thousands of illegal squatters in a westerndistrict. At least five people were killed, including a policeman. Nepal's former Maoist rebels have called for a nationwide general strike Sunday to protest the government action.
Maoist insurgents fought a 10-year war against the government in Nepal. They laid down their arms in 2006 in exchange for a role in the government and an end to Nepal's' constitutional monarchy.
The Mao communists won the majority of seats in the 2008 parliamentary election. But the Maoist-led government fell in May after the president overruled the Maoists' attempt to fire the army chief.
The illegal settlers are people displaced by flooding and landslides, which are common in the impoverished Himalayan nation.