Nepal govt mulls concrete steps to conclude peace process



Kathmandu: Amid a deadlock among Nepal's political parties, the government plans to initiate some concrete steps to conclude the 2006 stalled peace process and draft a new constitution, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari said on Saturday.

Adhikari said there will be a boost in confidence among the people by taking forward the peace process.

He told mediapersons that some concrete steps will be taken towards concluding the peace process, such as deciding on the modality for integration of the former Maoist guerrillas with the security forces and consensus on key issues for drafting the delayed constitution even if it was not possible to promulgate it within the May 28 deadline.

There is growing concern in Nepal over the uncertainty in Nepal's peace process and failure of the political parties to agree on a consensus to promulgate a new constitution.

The Communist-led coalition government has registered a constitution amendment bill in parliament proposing a one-year extension for the 601-member Assembly, whose term was extended last year in a bid to prevent a constitutional crisis.

Nepalese leaders are deadlocked over the peace process, including the fate of the former Maoist combatants, amid demands by the ex-rebels for their en masse integration with the security forces.

Most of the mainstream political parties have asked the Maoists to manage their former PLA combatants, return the seized property and dismantle their paramilitary youth wing, Young Communist League, so that a consensus can be built on drafting a constitution and concluding the peace process.

Speaking at a two-day conference of journalists from Nepal and India in the capital, Adhikari said the government is committed to taking the peace process forward and drafting the constitution on the basis of consensus.

Rakesh Sood, the Indian Ambassador to Nepal who was also present at the meet organized by Nepal Editors? Society in association with BP Koirala India-Nepal Foundation, underlined the critical role of the media in strengthening Indo-Nepal relations.

Even as he expressed confidence that the people-to- people relations between the two countries will not be adversely affected by ups and down in Kathmandu and New Delhi, he urged the media not to unnecessarily blow up differences between the two countries.

PTI