Nepali Congress stress Maoists to hand over arms

Nepal has faced political instability and deadlock since the 2008 election to parliament.

Kathmandu: Main opposition party Nepali
Congress on Saturday warned that the drafting of a new constitution
for the country would remain stalled unless the former Maoist
guerrillas hand over their arms and conclude the integration
process of their combatants with the security forces.

Sher Bahadur Deuba, the senior Nepali Congress leader and
former Prime Minister, said that the constitution drafting
process could not move forward until the Maoist combatants
were integrated and their arms handed over to the government.

"Unified CPN (Maoist) should hand over the arms to the
state so as to take forward the constitution drafting
process," he said at a programme to mark the 98th birth
anniversary of Nepal`s first elected Prime Minister BP Koirala
in the capital.

The main opposition has rejected a proposal by the new
Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to join the ruling coalition,
saying it was not possible untill the Maoists hand over all
their weapons to the government.

"It is difficult to believe the UCPN-Maoist just by
bringing the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) under the
supervision of the all party Special Committee and handing
over the containers` keys in different cantonments," Deuba
pointed out.

One of the key sticking points in the 2006 peace plan has
been the proposed integration of 19,000 former Maoist rebel
fighters into the army, with military leaders and the Nepali
Congress resisting the move.

The former Maoist fighters have been confined in
cantonments across the country with more than 3,400 weapons
following the Compressive Peace Accord reached in 2006.

The Special Committee is entrusted with supervision
integration and rehabilitation the Maoists` Peoples Liberation
Army (PLA).

Deuba said his party was ready to cooperate with the
government in promulgating the constitution when the former
rebels return the land and property seized during the Maoist-
led decade-long civil war which ended in 2006.

The country has faced political instability and deadlock
since the 2008 election to the parliament, delaying the peace
process and drafting of the constitution.


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