Nepal Parties Agree to Resume Peace Process

Posted November 1st, 2011 at 8:20 pm (UTC-5)
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The leaders of Nepal's main political parties have agreed to finish a five-year peace process that ended a decade-long Maoist insurgency.

The officials met at Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai's residence in Kathmandu. Under the agreement, 6,500 of the 19,000 former Maoist rebels who have been living in camps since the end of the conflict in 2006, will be integrated into the army. The rest will receive a pay-off.

The parties also agreed to work together to write a new constitution for the young republic, which abolished its monarchy in 2008. The first draft is due to be ready by the November 30 deadline.

The parliament, or Constituent Assembly, was supposed to finish the document in May 2010, but the deadline has been extended three times after failing to reach a consensus.

In Washington, the State Department welcomed the landmark agreements and urged all those involved to implement them. Victoria Nuland, a State Department spokeswoman said U.S. officials believe the consensus is a crucial step toward ensuring a democratic, stable, and prosperous future of Nepal.

The Maoists have the most seats in parliament, but not enough to govern alone. They were allowed to join the government after the 2006 peace deal. Their insurgency claimed more than 13,000 lives.