Nepal parties seal deal on Maoist fighters

KATHMANDU Wed Nov 2, 2011 3:59pm IST

United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda smiles during the voting procedure of the Constituent Assembly term extension at the Parliament in Kathmandu August 29, 2011. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar/Files

United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda smiles during the voting procedure of the Constituent Assembly term extension at the Parliament in Kathmandu August 29, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar/Files

Related Topics

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal's political parties have agreed to integrate one-third of 19,600 Maoist former fighters into the national army, a move that could boost a flagging peace process after a decade of civil war.

The future of the Maoist fighters is key to the stability for a country that is courted by neighbours India and China as a geopolitical ally. How to treat those fighters was a major sticking point in the peace process, which ended the civil war that killed more than 16,000 people.

The deal, signed by Maoist chief Prachanda and leaders from main parties late on Tuesday, answers a long-standing demand by the Maoists. The military and main political parties had strongly resisted the idea.

"We have concluded yet another chapter of the peace process. The main task now is to implement this," Prachanda told reporters after signing the agreement.

As a compromise, the roles of the Maoists will be restricted to non-combat operations such as the construction of development projects, emergency rescue operations and patrolling forests.

The rest of the fighters will be given education, vocational training and financial aid of up to $11,500 to start a new life. Thousands have lived in United Nations-sponsored camps since the civil conflict ended in 2006.

The Maoists are now part of the political mainstream. In August, Nepal's parliament elected a Maoist leader as prime minister.

In September, the Maoists handed over a cache of more than 3,000 weapons to a special committee, although some hardliners among the fighters opposed the handover.

"We welcome today's landmark agreement by the political parties to move forward on the peace process, including on the integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist combatants," the U.S. embassy said in a statement late on Tuesday.

"We encourage all those involved to move quickly to implement the agreement, and we remain committed to supporting the process as appropriate."

The parties also agreed to set up a South Africa-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deliver justice and offer relief to victims of the decade-long conflict.

They also agreed to speed up work on a new constitution.

The country's first such charter since the abolition of the 239-year-old monarchy was meant to be written by May last year, but the deadline was extended until the end of this month because of a stalemate over the future of the Maoist guerrillas.

(Editing by Matthias Williams and Yoko Nishikawa)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Caste Bias

Caste Bias

Bigoted teachers lead marginalised Indian school kids to drop out - HRW.  Full Article 

Ferry Tragedy

Ferry Tragedy

Divers feel with their hands for corpses in depths of S.Korean ferry.  Full Article 

Australia Determined

Australia Determined

Australia vows to keep searching to solve missing Malayasian plane mystery.  Full Article 

Guns and Gowns

Guns and Gowns

Film “The World Before Her” juxtaposes two faces of Indian woman.  Full Article 

Mobile Ads

Mobile Ads

Google extends reach into mobile apps with new ad feature.  Full Article 

Allegations Denied

Allegations Denied

Allegations of teen sex abuse by three Hollywood execs denied.  Full Article 

Rising Tensions

Rising Tensions

U.S. vows more sanctions on Russia unless tensions ease in Ukraine.  Full Article 

Need for Speed

Need for Speed

United must move fast with vital window looming.  Article 

Afghanistan Exit

Afghanistan Exit

Exclusive - U.S. force in Afghanistan may be cut to less than 10,000 troops  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage