Washington: The US has initiated the process of removing the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) from the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorist, but says that the former rebels need to take certain steps before it can be finally taken off the terrorism blacklist.

"While the Party has taken some positive steps, we continue to have areas of concern which must be addressed before the Party could be de-listed," the State Department said yesterday.

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) is not included on the Foreign Terrorist Organization list, but remains a designated Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 and is included on the Terrorism
Exclusion List, pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, State Department told reporters in a written answer to the question asked in this regard at the daily news conference.

The State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, however, defended the US's decision to work with the Nepalese Government headed by the Prime Minister, Baburam Bhattarai, from the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

"There are a number of governments around the world where individual folks, individual parties in a coalition, have been designated, and we continue to work as best we can there," Nuland said.

"We have to review each of these on a case-by-case basis, and we have to – and we continue to work on progress as we can to work through the issues that led to the issues that led to the listing in the first place," she said.

"We are hopeful that we will be able to have a good working relationship," she said in response to a question.

The Maoists are on the US Terrorism Exclusion List but not the tougher Foreign Terrorist Organisation List, which would make it a crime to provide financial support to the group.

(Agencies)