The MAOISTS in Nepal entered into a historic peace pact with the government on Tuesday, officially ending their decade-long armed struggle and paving the way for them to join the country’s interim government.
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chairman Prachanda signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) at a Kathmandu convention centre in the presence of a large number of officials, dignitaries and foreign diplomats.
Koirala termed the agreement “significant” and said it would herald a new era of peace in Nepal. “The agreement was possible because of utmost sincerity and dedication of everyone,” he said. “The agreement is a result of sacrifice, and holds a lot of promise. Now, we hope to forge ahead as a fast developing nation in South Asia.”
Prachanda called the event 'historic', and said it was the end of 238 years of “misrule (monarchy) in Nepal”. “It is the biggest miracle of the 21st century. We will showcase Nepal as the abode of peace and development,” he said. “Salute the martyrs who laid down their lives for the country,” he said referring to the hundreds of people who lost their lives fighting the Nepali army under the king.
The agreement came after months of negotiations on how to disarm the Maoists and bring them into the government. The Maoists had helped to bring the present government to power by backing the widespread protests earlier this year against King Gyanendra.
Under the agreement, the Maoists are to join the interim parliament by November 26. An interim government including the Maoists will be in place by December 1.
Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula, who read out the CPA, said: “The agreement will be able to satisfy the needs and aspirationsof the people of Nepal.”
The agreement puts a stop to any further offensive by either the Nepal Army or the People’s Liberation Army – the armed wing of the Maoists.
Neither the Maoists nor the Nepal Army will carry out any new recruitment, and the Maoists' parallel governments (Peoples' governments, as they call them) across the country will be abolished. There will be no collection of tax or revenue by the Maoists.
The agreement further says both the government and the Maoists will assist each other in maintaining peace, law and order in the country.
A team from the United Nations will monitor and supervise PLA cantonments and Nepal Army barracks. The agreement makes possession, display and use of arms a punishable offence.
UN Secretary-General's special representative to Nepal Ian Martin said, " I am happy to see that the agreement at last has brought an end to the 11 years of bush war. We will try in every possible way and carry the peace process ahead."
According to the agreement, the king will enjoy no political rights. His property will be nationalised and held in public trusts.
Both the government and the Maoists committed themselves to uphold human rights, all international human rights laws and civil liberties. They have also promised a clamp down on corruption in the country.