Maoist stance delaying peace treaty, says Gyawali

Kathmandu, November 18:

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and member of the Government talks team Pradip Gyawali said today that the much-awaited Comprehensive Peace Treaty could not be signed on the deadline as the Maoist side linked the treaty with the interim constitution, which is scheduled to be finalised on November 21.

“The peace treaty could not be signed on the deadline as the Maoist side proposed to finalise it along with the interim constitution,” Gyawali said at the Reporters’ Club. He said that both the sides would sign the treaty on November 21.

Gyawali said the peace treaty gives a comprehensive political orientation to the nation; helps carry out demobilisation, arms management and monitoring process of constituent assembly election; covers comprehensive aspects of human rights and develops a mechanism required for lasting peace. He said that the peace treaty was necessary to implement the six-point agreement reached between the seven-party alliance and the CPN-Maoist on November 8.

Once the treaty comes into effect, the Maoist fighters would go to cantonments and qualified civilian peace monitors of United Nations would start verification and registration process of the fighters in the camps, which are yet to be finalised by the government, Maoist and the UN. He said that the government, UN team and the Maoists were doing homework to develop modality of arms management and verification process of the Maoist fighters and looking for suitable sites for cantonments and sub-camps.

He said the cantonments and sub-camps should be accessible by road and physical facilities should be available there. “Main cantonments and sub-camps should be located close to each other so that the UN teams could monitor them properly.”

“Some of the cantonments and sub-camps proposed by the Maoists are not suitable as they are located far away from one another,” he said, adding that they were holding consultations on appropriate sites.

Gyawali said the Maoists’ drive for recruiting youth and students in Maoist People’s Liberation Army is a matter of serious concern at a time when both sides are moving in a positive direction. He said the recruitment drive would harm the Maoists in the long run. “If the Maoists are really serious about working out a peaceful solution to the conflict, the drive of recruitment in PLA must stop,” he said.

Despite changes on the schedule of signing the peace treaty, he expressed confidence that the interim government would be formed within the deadline of December 1. Terming the November 8 agreement “historic”, Gyawali said the agreement had taken a bold step to end the decade-old conflict. “People will decide the fate of monarchy,” he said, adding: “The alliance and the Maoists have become a single entity to ensure lasting peace in the country.”