Nepal Peace Process Update: Deal On Army and Maoist Weapons

For the record: A deal on weapons

Maoist combatants will remain confined in cantonments in seven different places. The weapons of the combatants will be separated from them and locked in storages within the designated cantonments. The keys of the locks will remain with the Maoist leadership. The UN will monitor the locks through close circuit camera. Moreover, the locks will have sensor device.

By Ameet Dhakal & Ghanashyam Ojha

Tough give and take: Reaching an understanding on the modality of arms management was one of the most difficult negotiations of the whole peace process. It actually was a saga of trust eventually winning over mistrust, suspicions, parochial party interests and foreign meddling. The negotiations on arms management got off on a bumpy start (or it didn’t start for long) due to hardened stances of both sides. Much of the last six months since the April revolution was wasted in public positioning: The government, chiefly the prime minister, demanded that Maoists give up arms before they join the government. The Maoists, however, argued that separating arms from their combatants was tantamount to a political surrender.

Finally, just before the Tihar holidays, rebels offered a concession: They were ready to separate 50 percent of their weapons from the combatants before joining the interim government and the remaining 50 percent before the constituent assembly elections. The government persisted in its demand and said the Maoists would have to give in more. Following a series of negations around Tihar holidays, the Maoists and NC leaders (Maoist chairman Prachanda, his deputy Dr Babu Ram, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula and NC leader Dr Shekhar Koirala) reached a deal. According to the deal, the arms would be separated from Maoist combatants and locked up in storages in the designated cantonments. But the keys of the locks would remain with the Maoist leaders. The UN would monitor the locks through close circuit camera and would get unobstructed access to the storages.

Last Sunday, negotiators presented the deal to the prime minister. The PM said he was personally satisfied with it but would consult with leaders within his own party and the international community. The PM held hectic parleys with NC leaders on Monday and Tuesday during which most of the leaders rejected the deal and asked the PM to pressurize the rebels to give in more. In the meantime, the United States conveyed to the PM that it was not happy with the proposed single-lock model and urged a double-lock system. India said it was okay with the deal but opined that putting a seal on the locks would be a better alternative.

Prime Minister Koirala went back to the Maoist leaders and urged them to accept seals on the locks or look for an alternative.

Prachanda and Dr Bhattarai held extensive consultations with Ian Martin on Tuesday and Friday and proposed the current modality to the PM. On Saturday, as instructed by the PM, his advisor Dr Suresh Chalise held hours long meeting with Martin and briefed Koirala about the details of the new modality. PM Koirala invited Martin and personally inquired about the modality on Sunday. Finally, this evening the prime minister held a meeting with Prachanda and Dr Bhattarai and gave his final nod to the deal.

What the Deal is All About?

KATHMANDU, Nov 6- The government and Maoists have finally reached the much-awaited understanding on modality of weapons management. Following the understating, top leaders of the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) and the Maoist are meeting on Monday at 4 pm to conclude a detailed agreement on both arms and political issues. Time permitting, the leaders are also expected to sign the agreement. “It’s possible that we might sign an agreement tomorrow,” Krishna Prasad Sitaula, home minister and government’s chief negotiator, told the Kathmandu Post.

The weapons management modality

According to the agreed modality, Maoist combatants will remain confined in cantonments in seven different places. The weapons of the combatants will be separated from them and locked in storages within the designated cantonments. The keys of the locks will remain with the Maoist leadership. The UN will monitor the locks through close circuit camera. Moreover, the locks will have sensor device. The government, Maoists and UN officials will meet soon after the SPA and Maoists sign an agreement and decide the technical details of the sensor device. But the general understanding is that such a device will sound the siren (or ring an alarm) if any person enters within its magnetic field (certain range from the device). The UN monitoring squad will be physically present in all cantonments for monitoring weapons. As a symbol of reciprocity, Nepali Army will also lock up equal number of weapons. A cabinet sub-committee will be formed to study the issue of reform in the Nepali Army, integration of Maoist combatants in the national army and the overall issue of state security reform.

35,000 combatants to remain in seven cantonments

Deputy Commander of People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Barsa Man Pun, said about 35,000 of their combatants will remain in seven cantonments. Each cantonment will have PLA’s division comprising about 5,000 combatants. Soon, a team of UN experts and Maoists will travel to different parts of the country to identify areas to set up cantonments and to study their feasibility.

The summit talks

The “summit talks”, which will announce a complete package of agreements, will have to wait for a few days. Here is a sequence of events that will lead to the summit talks: First, the SPA and Maoist leaders will conclude an agreement. “That’s the main aim of tomorrow’s meeting,” said Dr Suresh Chalise, the prime minister’s advisor. Second, the government, Maoists and UN will sign a tripartite agreement on arms management that will spell out the technical details of the modality. Third, the government and Maoists will discuss and sign a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). A group of Nepali Congress leaders have already prepared a draft of such an agreement.

The CPA will incorporate, among others, Human Rights Accord, ceasefire agreement and the code of conduct to be followed during the transition period. The CPA draft has termed carrying of arms in public places by unauthorized individuals a criminal offence. Once the CPA is agreed on by all sides, a summit talks will take place and announce the CPA, which will also incorporate the tripartite agreement on arms management.

Understanding on political issues

The government and Maoists have already reached a tentative understanding on all political issues. The understanding will be presented on Monday’s meeting for final review and agreement. According to the understanding, interim cabinet will have 23 members. The NC, UML and the Maoists will have equal number of ministers in the interim cabinet. Similarly, there will be a 330-member interim legislature. The Nepali Congress will have 75 members, UML and Maoists each will have 73, NC (D) will have 42 and the rest will go to other fringe parties.

Likewise, the constituent assembly will have 425 members, of which 205 will be elected from the current constituencies.

Of the rest, 204 will be nominated by political parties in proportion to the popular votes they garner during the constituent assembly elections and the remaining 16 will be nominated by the prime minister.

The Nepali Congress and Maoist top leaders once again reiterated today that the fate of monarchy should be decided by the first meeting of the constituent assembly elections. UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal has taken a public stance that national referendum should decide the future of monarchy. “We are confident that UML will give up its stance tomorrow,” said a senior Nepali Congress leader. The understanding also says a commission to study and recommend the process and modality of restructuring the state will also be formed.

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23 responses to “Nepal Peace Process Update: Deal On Army and Maoist Weapons

  1. “35000 to remain in 7 cantonements” – Where? Strategically located all over the place, or where they are told to stay away from areas of strategic control? Arms within the cantonements or close to it? What is the point?
    I’m afraid nothing has been achieved, more trouble will come!

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  2. scoop, people like you are afraid because there will be peace. and if peace prevails, your malik gyane[ndra] will be kicked out of narayanhiti and put in jail.

    what would you do then? curse the spa and the maoists as you’re doing now? but mind you kaag karaudai garcha pina sukdai garchha.

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  3. Well said Maobadi, well said. The only thing I want more from Maoist now is better behavior. I am longing for THE DAY, like you maobadi.

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  4. Haste Decision and forced settlement is recipe for disaster. Whipped in frenzy to act by likes of Ian Martin and likes of India will not hold water in the long run. Yes, we need settlement but not of convenience or contrite to placate few foreigners or few people who believe themselves to be all and end all. Is this height of regressive and dictatorial tendencies or what?

    No wonder the sling shot warriors rule the roost with the horizon limited and confined to “I win, you lose” attitude.

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  5. Maobadi,

    People like me are concerened because people like you believe that when the maosist are even as we speak going around violating all facets of the ceasefire code of conduct, you still expect maoists to follow any other rules that the government and they sign on.
    And everytime, people show concern all you have to say is Gyanenedra etc. etc. The monarchy is a thing of the past. Bringing it up again seems to be your only line of defence (albeit a weak one) left. Let’s talk about the codes of conduct which are being violated instead. If you believe that they are anything to go by, what do you expect the rest of us non maobadis to believe? That we should not be concerned, that the maoists will keep their word, where are the examples to suggest these things?

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  6. Further mapbadi (while my earlier comments await moderation),

    Do you think people are so stupid to try and save Gyanendra at the price of peace? I’m afraid if Gyanendra is a road block to peace he can go but so can the maoists who are more a threat to peace.

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  7. dude, its neither haste decision nor forced settlement. well obviously you’re very much disturbed by the news that the guys are reaching near to a comprehensive peace agreement.

    though monday, i can see you drunk tonight whether there be such an agreement or not.

    anyway dude, more frustations ahead. your ill-wish or curse or your malik’s pretty tricks is no more going to work. people are aware and vigilant more than they were ever before.

    hope you guys saw the fate of saddam husein. i don’t believe in death sentence but i want to see gyane being sacked out of throne and put in jail. thats the place where he belongs to.

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  8. Nice comments by Mr Scoop and Mr Backdraft. I see a lot of Nationalistic Nepalis here but why are the terrorists being allowed to post here? Does democracy mean support for terrorism in the internet also? I though this (Democracy = Terrorism) was true only in Nepal. Hehe. Just what I observed. I don’t have much idea about Nepal, I just read and observe.

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  9. If everything goes in right track for the future peace and democracy we should consider it as great achievements. Because arms management of rebels are very difficult task and takes many years everywhere.

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  10. The reality is the that military was never able to wipe out the terrorists and the terrists, too, were not able to get a military victory over the Nepal army, although more often than not, the Nepal army did, very bravely, thawrt the ‘terrorising” intentions of the so-called Maoists groups led by two bahuns, namely Pushpa Kamal and Baburam. In the process, the Nepal army and the armed police also carried out its own share of atrocities and most of the perpetrators were never brought to justice. All of this, created a stalemate in the country and we lost more that 10 years of development opportunity. Now, conventional thinkking would force us all NEVER to compromise with the terrorists and continue to use military means to upstage them. But given that this would take at elast another ten years, and the given the strength (or the lack of it) of the very corrupt political parties, war in Nepal would continue to be used to serve the goals of handful of people. Therefore, the Nepalese people do deserve peace and although, it is very unfortunate that the prospect of peace has emerged after the terrorists were given soe space politically, the process itself should be lauded because it, at least, shows some glipse of Nepal going through a phase of tranquil, short-lived it might be. The bigger question will be the Constituent assembly and what kind of Nepal we will be living in the aftermath of the elections. Will the Maoists and the UML push Nepal to a communist state? Will people’s be deprived of their rights? Will properties be looted from the “priviliedged” 20% (many of whom have worked very hard their entire life to be where they are now) and be distributed among the “marginalized 80%. Will Bahuns Pushpa Kamal and Baburam continue to act like Robin Hood for popularity sake and privatize the businesses and schools of this country. I think we need to devote more time to answering tehse questions now and debating what kind of Nepal dow e all want to live in.

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  11. Guyfromktm,

    The country came to to that last stage where peace is only demand at whatever costs. Talking about new nepal has become like real joke for Nepali people in this situation.So, just pray for the long lasting peace….foget other things…

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  12. guyfromktm,

    why are adding bahuns (adj?) to prachanda and baburam? don’t dare make the movement only of bahuns.

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  13. This is the best news that has come out of the country for a long, long time. Finally, there is hope. Of course, the details have to be worked out, but the very fact that the Maoists are willing to be separated from their weapons is a very positive movement.

    No more war. We’ve had enough. Now here’s a real chance for peace. Lets make the most of it.

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  14. guyfromktm,

    you have racist sense of perception for the maoist movement. may be you think yourself superior or inferior based on your caste whatever it is. including bahun in your comment twice proves all that.

    one more thing, to rid of this kind of mentality maoists were required. they want to eliminate caste system. so, beware of that.

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  15. I just listened to Jhalanath khanal speaking to radio nepal reproter. he sound pessimistic of positive outcome of today’s talk.

    EMALE is obstructing the peace process. Emale is sure going to downsizing their own height by creatin bakhedas…

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  16. UML is not downsizing, the poll shows they are going to be the lagest party in the next election.
    Remember, negotiation with Maoist was initiated by UML: in Silgudi, lucknow etc. Madhav Nepal, Jhala nath and Bamdev played a crucial role to have agreement with them.
    UML has been facilitating the talks, not obstructing it at all. For me this is a balanced party following international norms.

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  17. forget it man. uml is going to loose the most of this peace process succeed. and remember bamdev is the first person to introduce POTA? do you think we don’t know you bunch of ‘tak pare tiwari natra gotame’ types.

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  18. maobadi:
    are you really a maobadi?

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  19. maobadi/gaunle– the reason I used Bahuns twice in my comment was to point out the very fact that it has now come down to two bahuns to talk about elimination of caste system in Nepal. So, according to them, these are the only two very chokho and committed bahuns in Nepal who are sooooo committed to the uplift thesituation of the margilaized population and all the rest are samantis. What a joke!

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  20. The head Maobadi has already said that the agreement is for the Nepal Army to also turn in it’s weapons. That is not correct. He will next cry foul and say that the goverment has not kept the agreement. He is nothing but a BS artist.

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  21. another wonder of the world!!! somebody emerged from hole to give a sh!t about marginalized nepalis.

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  22. Nepali in Nepal

    or someone who pretends to be from a hole, someone who is ready to push this country towards communism and take us back to stone age. someone who will play the populist card by saying he will distribute land to the ones who don’t have it, he will resort to looting, coercion, use brutal force, carry out individual killings of innocent people, force his militias to take over properties of innocent people, pretend to set out to smother feudalism but start a feudalistic doctrine in so called Prachandapath where he tried to be above self and above the parties, heads a party that has never voted him in, gets rid of party cadres that are opposed to his way of thinking, promises to make Nepal Singapore or the richest country in the world, talks about nisarta sambhidhan sabha but negotiates for a referendum or complete abolishment of morachy before the CA and on and on and on….. good luck margilanized Nepalese– you are in safe hands, or so does gaunle thinks

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  23. i just want to laugh at you. you are the reason maoist succeeded on their struggle. monarchy was the one that caused maoist conflict in nepal in first place. now, you loosers have nothing other than to moan and lament. of course, it’s fully reasonable. hey, even though maoist are bad i don’t think they are worse than kg and his butt lickers. after all, you guys wanted to remain above law and do whatever you wanted. now, when you are threatened you realized how it feels.

    Like

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