Ian Martin says new army recruitments would be breach of peace accord

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Kathmandu, Dec 23 (ANI): Chief of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), Ian Martin today said new recruitments by the Nepal Army or the Maoist People's Liberation Army (PLA) would be a breach of agreements related to the peace process.

In a press statement, Martin said he has already written a letter to Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa reiterating that new recruitments by Nepal Army or PLA would run counter to the Ceasefire Code of Conduct, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Agreement on Monitoring the Management of Arms and Armies.

Martin added that UNMIN had expressed this view to the previous government in the context of earlier reports of new recruitment by Nepal Army in 2007. It had also drawn the attention of the Defence Minister in the current government to its position.

Martin also mentioned that previous government had maintained that the Nepal Army could fill vacancies up to its standing strength at the time of the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Martin's statement comes in response to fresh controversy after a PLA deputy commander Chandra Prasad Khanal said PLA, too, would open recruitments if the NA goes ahead with the ongoing recruiting process.

His comment comes in the wake of rising controversy over the inclusion of the Maoist fighters into the state army.

Khanal accused the Nepal Army of announcing new vacancies to fill up the vacant post breaching the peace agreement.

He claimed that the Prime Minister and the United Nation Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), which has been monitoring Nepal's peace process, have already been informed about the issue.

The Army Integration Special Committee (AISC) formed in the leadership of Home Minister and UML leader Bam Dev Gautam has been unable to move ahead as the Nepali Congress (NC) has refused to join it demanding equal number of seats as the ruling Maoists, whose combatants are to be integrated into the Nepal Army.

The AISC will look after the thorny issue of integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants cantoned in various UNMIN-monitored camps, Nepalnews reported. (ANI)

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