Deal to be signed for release of disqualified combatants in Nepal

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KATHMANDU, Dec 15, 2009 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The Nepali government and the main opposition Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN- M) are close to consensus on signing an action plan for the release of the 4,008 UNPN-M disqualified combatants, who have been billeted in different UN-monitored cantonments for the last three years.

Among the 4,008 disqualified combatants, the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) has categorised 2,973 as minors (born after May 25, 1988) and 1,035 as recruited after the signing of the Ceasefire Code of Conduct in May 25, 2006.

According to Wednesday's The Kathmandu Post daily, the action plan will be signed on Wednesday. However, a confirmation to this effect needs consent from Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, who is currently in Copenhagen to attend the UN climate change meeting.

Peace Minister Rakam Chemjong said the government will decide about the action plan on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the visiting UN Special Representative of Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy handed over the draft of the action plan to Minister Chemjong and UCPN-M's People's Liberation Army commander Nanda Kishore Pun.

Coomaraswamy aims to ensure progress on the discharge of nearly 3,000 UCPN-M personnel verified as minors by UNMIN. "We are positive that something may come out in the next few days," Coomaraswamy said. She added that the UCPN-Ms were willing to come on the UN-proposed action plan.

"The combatants after reaching their homes would be free to decide on their own on the rehabilitation package," said UCPN-M leader Barsha Man Pun. "The process would be monitored as per the international standards and completed in 50 days."