US hails Nepal move on Maoist forces

US welcomed a move by Nepal`s Maoists relinquishing control of their People`s Liberation Army.

Updated: Jan 23, 2011, 10:03 AM IST

Washington: The United States on Saturday welcomed a move by Nepal`s Maoists relinquishing control of their People`s Liberation Army, calling it a key step in the peace process in the Asian nation.

"A salute to Nepal for transferring command of Maoist forces to a special committee," US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in a message on the micro-blogging site Twitter. "This is a major step in the Nepalese peace process."

The comments came after the leader of the former guerrillas, now the main opposition party, handed control of 19,000 soldiers confined to cantonments around Nepal since the war ended in 2006 to a cross-party committee set up to decide their fate.

The continued existence of two armies in Nepal has been viewed as an obstacle to lasting peace in the troubled country, which has been without a government for nearly seven months.
The peace agreement that ended Nepal`s decade-long civil war says the former fighters should be allowed to join the state security forces, but resistance from the military and political disagreements have delayed the process.

Bureau Report

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