Nepal Maoists to voluntarily confine soldiers
Maoists are pressing on with a plan to confine their fighters and weapons in countryside camps, a part of a peace pact with the Govt.india Updated: Aug 23, 2006 14:31 IST
Nepal Maoist rebels said on Wednesday they are pressing on with a plan to confine their fighters and weapons in countryside camps, a key part of a peace agreement with the government.
The guerrillas, who waged a decade-long insurgency in which 12,500 people died, said they would decide on the sites within the next three days.
"Once our armies are confined to cantonments, the government should give an assurance that its Nepal Army also remains within their barracks," Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Maoist spokesman and head of the rebel negotiating team, said.
In early August the two sides reached a deal to allow the United Nations to monitor each other's fighters and weapons, breaking a deadlock in peace talks.
Wednesday's statement by Mahara was the first indication that the plan to monitor the 10,000-strong rebel militia and the 90,000-member army is going ahead.
Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula, also the government's top peace negotiator, confirmed the Maoist offer and said once the camps are in place, the government would respond in kind.
"The government will assure that the Nepal Army will stay in the barracks while the Maoist People's Liberation Army will be kept in specific areas before the arrival of another United Nations team," he said.
UN officials are expected to arrive in mid-September to review progress in the four-month-old ceasefire.