On Tuesday, leaders from the major political parties signed an agreement that’s going to (hopefully) move the peace process forward.
After the conflict in Nepal (called “the People’s War”) ended in 2006, almost 20,000 people claimed to have been part of the Maoist army. Since the Maoists agreed to a cease fire five years ago, they have lobbied for these fighters to be integrated into the Nepali military. However, other parties and the military itself have generally opposed this proposition because they are worried that one political party will have too much sway in the military.
This disagreement has prevented the much-needed constitution building from happening, but this week, Prachanda (Chairman of the Maoist Party), Baburam Bhattarai (Prime Minister of Nepal), and other major party leaders have signed an agreement that will hopefully clear up these disputes.
In the 7-point agreement, they have decided that 6,500 of the approximately 19,000 fighters will become part of a special force that performs non-combat duties like patrolling forests and carrying out rescue operations. The other fighters will be let go and given a maximum of 900,000 Rupees as compensation. I’m very glad this agreement was reached, but I have to say, 900,000 (about 11,500 US$) is a lot of money in Nepal. I wish that this government money could be going to other causes like improving infrastructure, education, and healthcare. However, I’m really glad the politicians were able to settle this issue.
Because this has been a sticking point for so long, when we found out a deal had been reached, I kind of expected everyone to be rejoicing in the streets. I thought there would be cheers heard from around Kathmandu, fireworks, or at least a bottle or two of champaign opened. But the next day, people were going about their business as usual. There’s a lot more work to be done, and the deal has yet to be implemented, so I guess they’re saving the celebrations for later…
What do you think about this agreement? Will it really move the peace process forward?