Nepal's Maoists today agreed to a three-month timeline to complete the integration process of its former guerrillas with the army, but insisted that its chief Prachanda must lead a national government in a bid to push forward the stalled peace process.
Tation and rehabilitation of their 19,000 combatants confined in various UN monitored cantonments, said Karin Landgren, chief of the United Nations Mission in Nepal
(UNMIN), who met Maoist vice chairman Baburam Bhattarai yesterday.
The Maoists have said that they are ready to set three-month timeline to complete the integration process and I think it was positive, she told PTI today.
The Maoists were ready to complete the management of their combatants before the UNMIN’s deadline expires, she said.
However, the Unified CPN-Maoist has failed to determine the exact number of combatants to be integrated in the Nepal Army in advance.
Around 4,000 were formally discharged this year after UN scrutiny found they did not qualify as soldiers, and several thousand more are thought to have drifted away from
the camps and returned home in the intervening years.
But more than 15,000 are estimated to remain and their fate is a key stumbling block in the peace process.
Bhattarai said that they cannot agree to the demand of the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, which are stressing on determining the number of combatants to be integrated in the
The number can be fixed only after giving choice to the combatants, he added.
The Maoist combatants will be offered various choices such as jobs, skill development training, integration in the security forces and rehabilitation to the society under the
management of the combatants.
Even as embattled Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal agreed to step down as part of an eleventh-hour deal to extend the term of the Constituent Assembly by one year on May 28,
the political parties remain deadlocked over the agreement.
Leaders of the three major political parties -- the main Opposition CPN-Maoist, the Nepali Congress and the prime minister's Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) -- have repeatedly met but failed to reach an agreement end the standoff.