Nepal PLA Integration with National Nepal Army: UCPN(M) formally agree to Army-proposed modality

[Maoist Revolutionaries in the UCPN(M) are questioning and challenging this week’s agreement–is it more of a surrender or defeat than a successful peace move and step forward? — Frontlines ed.]
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KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI

KATHMANDU, MAY 19 –

The UCPN (Maoist) on Thursday formally decided to accept the modality offered by Nepal Army—a separate directorate within the Army for the integration of its former combatants.

The party’s Standing Committee took the decision after its proposal for a separate or a mixed force for the combatants was rejected by the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML.  The decision comes amid growing pressure on Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal to expedite the peace process before the May 28 deadline of the Constituent Assembly.

The Standing Committee decided that the proposal to set up the Directorate of National Development and Security forwarded by Nepal Army early this year was “an appropriate” integration modality.

Dahal went ahead with his proposal with support from Vice Chairman Baburam Bhattarai and Narayan Kaji Shrestha. This left the hardliners in the party fuming.

“We had called for an intensive discussion on the proposal, but the chairman ignored our request,” said party secretary CP Gajurel who belongs to the Baidya camp. “The decision is against the party’s established policy that both peace process and constitution writing should be carried out simultaneously.”

The Army had proposed that the directorate under the defence ministry would be under a two-star general of Nepal Army and would comprise 35 percent serving personnel from the Army, 35 percent from the PLA and 15 percent each from Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force.

Following Thursday’s decision, Maoist leaders said they are ready to demonstrate flexibility on deciding the number of combatants to be integrated and the norms of integration. “We have agreed on the modality and are open to discussions on numbers and norms,” said Standing Committee leader and Special Committee member Barsha Man Pun.

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