Norway has announced its support for the discharge and rehabilitation process of Nepalese Maoist army personnel. Norway has recently been encouraged by the Nepalese government’s renewed commitment in conjunction with the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) to speed up the rehabilitation process, which is seen as crucial to establishing and maintaining security within the region.
The Norwegian government has announced that its USD 5 million aid package is conditional on formal action being completed by January 2010. The funding will be provided through the United Nations Peace Fund for Nepal.
The discharge and rehabilitation programme was originally implemented after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was announced in 2006. Last year Prime Minister Prachanda formed a surprise coalition government headed by former Maoist rebels after a decade long civil war. Norway has been a vocal supporter of the Nepalese peace process.
Prachanda had claimed earlier this year that the process would be completed in a matter of months in order to coincide with the UN mission expiry. The lack of progress has meant greater efforts on the part of UN countries to speed up the formalities with some such as Norway literally paying the price.
The former insurgents are still being held in UN-run detention camps. The rehabilitation of the 4,000 disqualified Maoist members has long been identified as the key to completing the overall peace process while ensuring ongoing stability for the once volatile nation.
The Norwegian Ambassador to Nepal, Thor Gislesen said: “It is now imperative that the discharge process proceed without further delay and according to the plans agreed upon by the parties”. He continued, “The disqualified personnel deserve to be rehabilitated into society. Norway is committed to work with the parties and the UN to support this important process.”