11/02/2011, 00.00
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Nepalese parliament reaches agreement on future of 19 thousand Maoist guerrillas

Over 6500 former paramilitary integrated into the army. The remaining 12,500 will be included in programs for absorption into society. The landmark decision comes five years after the Civil War. Radical fringes of the Maoist party protest.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Nepalese parliament will integrate over 6500 Maoist guerrillas into the army five years after the Civil War (1996/2006). The agreement was signed yesterday by the leaders of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal, Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and United Democratic Madhesi Front. According to the agreement, for now ex-combatants will not be inserted into armed units. They will have an active role in humanitarian relief, security, industrial and forestry activities. The remaining 12,500 will instead follow a program of reintegration into society. The required funding amounts up to 11,500 for each fighter. However, the decision did not receive the approval of the more radical wings of the party, who called the agreement "a humiliation for the People's Liberation Army."

The civil war in Nepal has pitted the army against the Maoist guerrillas for 11 years, who fought with the aim of overthrowing the monarchy and establishing the People's Republic of Nepal. The conflict ended with a comprehensive peace agreement between the army and the Maoists signed November 21, 2006 in front of UN and international community. The war claimed more than 12,800 dead and created about 100 thousand refugees. In recent years the Maoists have always refused to surrender their weapons, demanding the inclusion of former guerrillas into the national army. On September 2 paramilitary cadres accepted disarmament and handed over the keys of the stockpiles in seven camps scattered all over Nepal.

The reintegration of former fighters is a historic step for the country. To date, the Maoists are the majority party in parliament after winning the elections for the Constituent Assembly held in 2008. On 28 August they returned to the government in two years after the resignation of their historical leader Prachanda. The new Prime Minister Baburan Battharai is committed to completing the peace process and writing a new constitution. It should already have been ready in 2009, but its approval has been hampered by the opposition of the Maoists, who three times have forced the UN to postpone the deadline, in a form of blackmail for the failure to reintegrate fighters into society. The first draft of the new constitution will be delivered by the end of November.

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