US praises Nepal panel for firming up monitoring of Maoists

The US underlined its commitment to Nepal`s peace process.

Updated: Jan 22, 2011, 19:23 PM IST

Kathmandu: The US on Saturday underlined its
commitment to Nepal`s peace process, as it praised the
country`s leaders, particularly the Maoists, for firming up
the key process for monitoring the former PLA guerrillas to a
special panel headed by the prime minister.

A special panel headed by Prime Minister Madhav Nepal
today took over the task of monitoring the arms and the Army
of the former Maoist guerrillas and the country`s military,
following the departure of the UN peace mission last
week.

The US congratulated the Nepalese leaders for
completing the important process of transferring the command
and control of the former PLA combatants to the Special
Committee on Supervision, Integration, and Rehabilitation of
Maoist combatants.

"The handover of the Maoist People’s Liberation Army
(PLA) to the Special Committee constitutes a welcome and
positive step forward in the peace process," the US Embassy
said.

"In particular, we commend the UCPN-Maoist party for
demonstrating its commitment to democracy by separating itself
politically from the combatants," it said in a statement.

The US still considers the Prachanda-led Maoist party
a global terrorist organisation.

Last week, the US had issued a travel warning for
Nepal amid fears of chaos after the departure of the UNMIN.

The US today reaffirmed its support to Nepal`s peace
process, expressing the hope that the handing over ceremony
witnessed by political leaders will encourage all parties to
complete the remaining elements in the peace process, the
drafting of the new constitution, and the formation of a
government.

Nepal`s caretaker government and the main Opposition
UCPN-Maoist today agreed on a deal to formally bring the
guerrillas of the Maoists` Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) under
the monitoring process of the Special Committee after the UN
peace mission wrapped up its task on January 15.

Top political leaders, including Prime Minister Madhav
Nepal and Maoist supremo Prachanda were among those present to
witness the handing over ceremony in Shaktikhor in Chitawan
district, one of the seven main cantonments housing the former
guerrillas.

The Prime Minister and Prachanda signed an agreement
to bring the Maoist combatants under the Special Committee --
comprising representatives of major political parties. They
agreed to bring the arms and the army of the former rebels and
the military, earlier shouldered by United Nations Mission in
Nepal (UNMIN), under the panel.

The panel will be responsible for monitoring the
19,000 strong Maoist army and their integration and
rehabilitation following the departure of UNMIN after a
four-year long mission.

Nepal`s peace process is under strain as the country
has been without a government since June 30, when Prime
Minister Nepal stood down under intense pressure from the
Maoists. Parliament has failed to elect a prime minister even
after 16 rounds of election.

PTI

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