Nepalese govt says no to bulk integration of Maoist combatants

Maoists want govt to integrate 19,000 combatants into Nepal`s armed forces.

Kathmandu: Nepalese government has rejected the Maoists` demand for bulk integration of their People`s Liberation Army in the country`s armed force.

"There would be no bulk integration of the PLA into the security forces," Defence Minister Vidya Bhandari said at a function in Nepal`s western town of Pokhara.

She said that the Maoists` demand for bulk integration was a ploy to derail the peace process.

The en-masse integration of the 19,000 Maoist combatants would be against the spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Accord, Bhandari said yesterday.

The Maoists` soldiers would be integrated on one-weapon-one-combatant basis, she said, adding only those combatants who meet criteria of Nepal Army would be integrated into the security forces.

Earlier, the Maoist leadership had proposed a timeline for integration and rehabilitation of their 19,000 combatants confined in various UN monitored cantonments.

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. In response to the Maoists` demand for Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal`s resignation, Bhandari said the Premier was ready to resign any time if parties came to an agreement.

She, however, claimed that the government had unwavering support of coalition partners.

The Maoists` attempt to obstruct budget for the next fiscal year will be foiled, she said, adding the government would seek alternatives if the Maoists try to obstruct the budget session which commences in a fortnight.


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