Senior US official meets Nepal's ex-rebels' leaders, assures cooperation

Senior US official met leaders of Nepal's former communist rebels on Monday and gave assurances of cooperation with the coalition government they are set to lead, officials said. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Evan Feigenbaum, met Prachanda, leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), and his deputy Baburam Bhattarai in Katmandu. "The official assured us that the US will continue their cooperation," Prachanda, who uses only one name, told reporters after the meeting. "We assured them we are going to make the peace process successful and establish democracy." The former rebels won the largest number of seats in elections last month for a constitution-drafting assembly and are set to lead the new government. The assembly is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, following which a new government is expected to be formed. Prachanda said Feigenbaum told the Maoists that the US was in the process of removing them from a US terrorist list, but Washington remained concerned about continued reports of violence by the Maoists' youth wing called Young Communist League.