Nepal’s government and Maoist fighters agreed minutes after midnight on Wednesday to put rebel arms under UN watch in a move to rescue a peace process aimed at ending a conflict that has killed thousands.
“Our party felt the necessity to change the party’s war-time organisational structure,” Sharma said, adding that the four-member rebel committee will submit a report on the necessary changes “within a couple of days.”
During their “people’s war”, the rebels gained control of large swaths of Nepal’s countryside and have been operating parallel government structures, including “people’s courts” as well as health and education programmes.
“Our party has already decided to dissolve the people’s governments, local-level administration and our separate autonomous regions, among others, and restructure the party organisation as per the interest of the people,” Sharma said.
|“Our whole party organisation will focus on peaceful political process rather than war”
Dina Nath Sharma, Nepal Maoists
The rebels and government are set formally to sign the peace deal later this week.
“Both the government and the Maoists are positive on signing the agreement on Thursday,” Pradeep Gyawali, a government negotiator and the minister for tourism and culture, told AFP.
The rebels also said that they would be ready to sign the accord.
“We [the government and the Maoists] are very much committed towards completing the draft of the peace accord on time and sign it by Thursday,” Sharma said.
“There has been no disagreement on any point to be included in the peace accord,” he said.
The Maoist announcement came as the United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef, called on the rebels to return under-age fighters and participants in their insurgency to their homes.
“We are extremely concerned that children below 18, who have been associated with armed forces and armed groups in Nepal, have not yet been returned or reintegrated with their families and communities,” Suomi Sakai, Unicef’s Nepal representative, said in a statement.
Local and international rights groups have accused the Maoists of kidnapping and conscripting children to their cause, a claim that the rebels reject.