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Nepal, ex-rebels agree on monitoring as UN leaves

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KATMANDU, Nepal » Nepal’s government and the former communist rebels have reached an agreement on monitoring thousands of ex-fighters after the United Nations leaves this weekend, officials said Saturday.

Peace Minister Rakam Chemjong said an agreement was reached between Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

The Maoists agreed to a proposal that a special committee headed by the prime minister would take over the task. The U.N. has been monitoring the peace process and the thousands of former combatants and their weapons.

After midnight Saturday, the U.N. will end its peace mission and remove its arms monitors in seven camps where former Maoist fighters live.

Chemjong said 64 arms monitors picked from the national army, police, the armed police force and the Maoists would now watch the camps. The U.N. peace mission that started in January 2007 was initially set up for a year but extended several times. The last tenure expired Saturday.

Maoist rebels fought government troops for a decade until 2006, when they gave up their armed revolt and joined the peace process. More than 13,000 people died in the fighting.

Thousands of former fighters live in the camps, and political parties have so far been unable to agree on their future — whether they should be integrated into the government security forces or rehabilitated back into society.


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