Nepal offers extra security to US doplomats

Nepal's government has offered additional security for U.S. officials in this Himalayan nation after allegations of an assassination plot against an American diplomat surfaced last week.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala told reporters Monday the government was ready to provide whatever extra security was needed for U.S. diplomats.

Koirala also criticized Prachanda, leader of the former communist rebels, for publicly making the claim. Prachanda, whose real name is Pushpa Kamal Dahal, told a public rally in west Nepal last week he had information about a plot to murder a U.S. official in Nepal and blame the killing on the rebels.

"He (Prachanda) should not have made such a claim without showing any evidence," Koirala said. "Such irresponsible statements could be harmful for a party that is set to join the government."

U.S. Embassy issued a statement last week saying it was deeply concerned by the allegation and if the Maoist leader had evidence to support his statement, then he should immediately share that information with the embassy and with authorities, the AP says.

Prachanda responded by saying the Maoists had launched their own investigation and would make public evidence to back their claim, but didn't say when.

Prachanda alleged the assassination was being planned by supporters of King Gyanendra, who was forced to abandon his authoritarian rule last year after weeks of pro-democracy demonstrations.

The Maoists signed a peace accord with the government last year ending a decade-old armed conflict that killed more than 13,000 people.

The former guerrillas have already joined Parliament and are set to become part of an interim government.

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