In a much awaited breakthrough in the peace process, the political parties in Nepal arrived at a consensus following hectic talks held in Baluwatar Tuesday evening.


United Communist Party of Nepal  (Maoist) [UCPN-M] chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress (NC) president Sushil Koirala, Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) [UML) chairman Jhala Nath Khanal and Bijay Gachchhadar, as representative of the  Madhesi Front, signed the agreement. The leaders had held several rounds of bilateral and multi-lateral talks before arriving at the final deal.


As per the agreement, 6500 Maoist combatants will be integrated into the Nepal Army while those opting for rehabilitation will be entitled to Rs 500,000 to 900,000 depending on their ranks and the type of package they choose.


The combatants will be inducted into a separate Directorate of the Nepal Army, which will look after development projects, industrial and forest security and rescue works during disasters. 65 percent of the workforce in the new Directorate will come from different security agencies while the integrated combatants will make up for 35 percent of the force.


Likewise, the combatants will be integrated after completing a bridge course. While the integration will be done as per the recruiting standards of the Nepal Army the candidates will get some concession in terms of academic qualification and age limit (up to one level of academic degree and maximum of three years of age threshold).


Likewise, regrouping of combatants will start within seven days and the process will complete by November 23.


Similarly, the properties seized by the Maoists will be returned by November 23. Those not getting their properties back will be compensated by the state.


Apart from the top leaders, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and senior leaders of the three parties were also involved in the negotiations.


Meanwhile, Maoist chairman Dahal described the agreement as “an end of a chapter of the peace process”, expressing commitment to implement the agreement.


“As the chairman of the largest party I commit to implement the agreement,” he said, adding, “UCPN (M) will unite in favour of the agreement despite some reservations expressed by vice chairman Mohan Baidya and general secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa.”


Likewise, UML chairman Khanal said, “This is a landmark agreement. It will lead to peace and prosperity and will also pave the way for the drafting the new constitution.”


“Now we have a challenge to ensure its implementation. All the parties need to unite for this,”  he added.


NC president Sushil Koirala also described the agreement as ‘historic’ and expressed confidence of implementation of the agreement.


Meanwhile, the Mohan Baidya faction has objected to the agreement. Party general secretary Thapa said will launch nationwide protest against it.


( supplied by Sukla Sen)

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