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Nepal government, rebels sign agreement on disarming rebel fighters

Nepal government, rebels sign agreement on disarming rebel fighters

Nepal's government and communist rebels were working Wednesday to finalize an interim constitution as part of a groundbreaking peace process to end years of bloodshed, officials said.
The two sides signed an U.N.-sponsored agreement on Tuesday spelling out how the insurgents will set aside their weapons as part of a wide-reaching pact to end the Himalayan nation's 10-year conflict.
"We have shifted our focus toward finalizing the interim constitution since we have now signed the arms management agreement," said Pradeep Gyawali, a member of the government negotiating team and tourism minister.
The interim constitution would have to be in place before 73 rebels join the proposed 330-seat interim Parliament.
The pact signed on Tuesday details how tens of thousands of rebel fighters would be confined to seven main camps under U.N. supervision ahead of elections next year.
The agreement _ signed by Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula and rebel chief negotiator Krishna Bahadur Mahara on Tuesday _ follows the two sides signing a comprehensive peace accord last week.
The 12-page agreement paper was immediately handed over to U.N. representatives to be forwarded to the world agency's headquarters for approval by the Security Council.
It provides for a Joint Coordination Committee comprising the government, insurgents and U.N. representatives that would be responsible for monitoring and managing the rebel camps.
The weapons would be locked in 70 metal containers and monitored by U.N. personnel.
"This agreement is in accordance with the aspiration of the people and aimed toward restoring permanent peace in the country and conducting free and fair elections," said Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula, who lead the government negotiations.
Krishna Bahadur Mahara, the rebels' chief negotiator, added that the agreement "proves that we are committed and are sincere toward fulfilling the past agreements and accords. It has opened avenues for us to move ahead in the political process in the days to come."
The issue of rebel fighters and weapons has been the biggest concern in the peace process.
Thousands of rebel fighters have already reached the seven areas where these camps are to be built, but there is no infrastructure in place yet, reports have said.
The government has allocated some money for building the camps and U.N. has said they are in the process of bringing in monitors.
The rebels have also been guaranteed a place in an interim government that will lead the country until the 2007 polls.


Updated : 2021-10-27 04:28 GMT+08:00