Qualified PLA can be integrated: Minister

HETAUDA: Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala today said that only the qualified People's Liberation Army combatants of the UCPN-Maoist could be integrated into Nepali Army.

Speaking at a press conference organised by Makawanpur chapter of Nepal Press Union, she said the rest of the combatants -- except for those qualified for integration -- could be adjusted in other sectors of the society.

Koirala, however, reiterated that the wholesale integration of the PLA fighters into the national army was totally out of the question. "The other fighters can be adjusted elsewhere as per the demands of the society, but all cannot be integrated into the Nepali Army," she clarified.

Referring to the Maoists' warning of fresh agitation, she said that their such protests were meaningless. Minister Koirala said that the drafting of the constitution and the peace process could be in peril if the Maoists did not join the government immediately. "There is no alternative than to forge consensus among all political parties and move ahead for the purpose," she said.

She also ruled out possibilities of changing the leadership of the government in case the Maoists ready to join it. "A negative message will spread among people if the leadership is changed time and again." She also claimed that the government was performing its duties by keeping the peace process as its focal point.