Maoist, SPA & Nepal Government Reached Comprehensive Peace Agreement

2006-11-22 - LEE Chi-Leung

To the surprise of many?

The decade-long civil war, or what the CPN (Maoist) section and its radical affiliates regarded as "People's War," has formally called an end last evening (21/11/2006; Nepalese Calendar: Mangsir 06, 2063) with leaders of CPN (Maoist), the Seven Party Alliance and Nepal Government signing the historical Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

The agreement implements a permanent ceasefire between Royal Neplali Army and Maoist gunmen. The "Ceasefire" refers to the unconditional cease of armed struggle of Maiost since 1996, the prohibitation & withdrawing from direct or indirect uses of weapons, uses of violence including blackmail, torture, kidnapping, spying, ambush, as well as display, search or confiscation of arms, etc. The Maoist fighters are to return to their respective cantonments in Kailali, Surkhet, Rolpa, Nawalparasi, Chitwan, Sindhuli, Ilam and sub-cantonments near these main ones. The UN Mission in Nepal shall verify & monitor them.

As for the most concerned subject of arms arrangement, arms & ammunitions of the Maoist will be locked up in each cantonment at a single lock with the keys to which held by the concerned side, the UN has security access and the right to check, inspect the weapons at the presence of the concerned side. The Royal Nepali Army will lock up the same amount of arms as with the Maoist under similar arrangement.

The Interim Council of Ministers, as agreed, will form a special committee responsible for the inspection, integration & rehabituation of the Maoist fighters; on the other hand, the Royal Nepali Army will be contained in their barracks and stop recruitment as requested of their Maoist counterpart. The Argreement also states clearly that the RNA shall be mobalised & managed by the The Council of Ministers as per a new Military Act, on the grounds of which the RNA is to be democratised.

This democratisation of army is paramount as the RNA was alleged a curious place in making the Royal Massacre 5 years ago an unsolved mystery. The RNA that originated from the Gurkha Amy who fought for the unification of modern Nepal has been historically tied closely with the Rana ancestry. A specific "loyalty" turning to the King instead of the Prime Ministers has been observed since 1991, especially so with the Bijuli Garat battalion, military secretaries & other special units that look after the palace's security. The RNA's regarding the King as above the country has been criticised as one of the factors that halt the Multi-party Parliament system, and by large the 1990 Constitution from functioning.

The agreement also commits all sides to observe the rights of displaced people to return voluntarily without being politically prejudiced; the details of "disappeared persons" or those who are allegedly killed or imprisioned are to be disclosed within 60 days.

Another important aspect of the agreement concerns the nationalisation of the Royal Family's property. This is to couple with the agreement not to allow "any authority regarding affairs of governance of the country to remain with the king." (3.3) The King's power to calls for emergency acts had been making the multi-party parliament system a mere name. In fact, the prime ministers have been rotated and parliament ordered to dismiss on a "regular" basis. Such a lack of governance had been heating up the underlying discontent that sparks the massive anti-autocracy movement in April resulting in the King's surrender of sovereignty to the People.

The much debated "fate" of Monarchy, or in practical term, whether Nepal is going to become a People's republic, or a multi-party parliament system w/ a nominal monarchy is to be decided in the first meeting of Constituent Assembly in simple majority. The Constituent Assembly is also challenged to draft the Interim Constitution. Previously in the rounds of peace talks, the Maoist negotiators proposed to settle the issue of monarchy in a popular referendum, over-shadowing the peace talks as many believe that such an referendum would only heat up political conflicts.

To the surprise of many, Peace, yes the implications of the word is now pondered on. The question is to whom it is a surprise and why is such so.

India, US, and UN spokespersons uniformly hail the agreement, but obviously for different reasons and agenda. If we consider Nepal's historical status as the buffer state between China & India as well, the "revolutionary corridor" established across the long, mostly unmanned India-Nepali border and the Naxalites activities in places like Assam makes the close ties of India and Nepal obviously a national security concerns for renewal and consolidation. This is especially so when the Indian political elite and most others have very different opinions about the Nepali Kingship status. To give more headaches in negotiations of international relations there are also the Tibetan & Bhutanese refugees issues.

The actual economic benefits for Nepal in the emerging Indian-Chinese trade route in plan bypassing Nepal is remained to heavy debate, with Nepal having a migrant population nearly half of its home's being compelled/lured to earn their livings abroad to help saving the structural disparity of an unhealthy economy. Nepal's signing in WTO membership earlier this year make the rest of story not exactly bright to ponder.

And should "the only Hindu Kingdom in the world" declared herself a secular republic, alleging to end the feudal system, and proclaims the rights of Dalits (those who do not adhere to the loosening caste system)... And consider the new Nepali government jointly run by a turning-mainstream-Maoist whose insurgency has been dubiously viewed by the PRC...

Considering these, one naturally wonders in a literally geo-graphical way, caught between two emerging powers with conflicting interests with an alarming disparate development of city/ rural area within: how much, and whose interest the Nepali peace prospect is touching upon?

The civil war is ended, will peace come as promised?

Full Text of the Argreement

Photo from United We Blog: In Ghorahi, Dang Maoist, UML, NC, NCD took out a rally welcoming the agreement. Pic by Sudarshan Rijal

nepal_after_peace_accord_20.jpg29.63 KB
18 Apr19:23

These people needs

By hoidick

These people needs security.
Submitted by traffic101 on Thu, 2009-02-19 13:21.

These people needs security. I can see that all they need is a peaceful life. I hope their rights will be granted.

yes, you are quite
Submitted by LEE Chi-leung on Fri, 2006-11-24 09:15.

yes, you are quite right.

but this argreement seems to conclude a stage since April. for whatever reasons, CPN Maoist seems having a comeback for within the framework of mainstream party politics - at least Prachanda managed to have a consensus among different factions.

the interim constitution part will be much more difficult to deal with, it has been argued also that the whole SPA-Maoist agreement, its plege to hold a Consituent Assembly has been unconsitutional because the Parliament has been long since dissolved.

but the arms arrangement issues has been the biggest obstacle against any possiblility of peace progress.

i think india's stance about future development will be crucial.

not surprised
Submitted by oiwan on Fri, 2006-11-24 00:50.

just worried that whether this peace agreement will last long. there had been peace talks before but failed.

here is an article about the history of peace talk written by Bal Krishna KATTEL(doc, published in Nepal: the Maoist insurgency and beyond by ARENA (2005)