Kathmandu: Nepalese leaders on Monday failed to make any headway on the stalled peace process and the drafting of a new constitution ahead of November-end deadline when the
term of the interim Parliament is set to expire.

Top leaders of ruling CPN-Maoist and opposition parties, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML held a crucial meeting to discuss issues such as the integration of former Maoist combatants with the security forces and the drafting of the Constitution.

The meeting, which was attended by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, Maoist chief Prachanda, Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala, former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN-UML chairman Jhala Nath Khanal among others, failed to make any headway in their efforts to expedite the peace process and constitution drafting process.

Prakash Man Singh, the Nepali Congress general secretary, however said the meeting was positive as the leaders tried to sort out differences on key issues of the peace process.

The meeting attended by top leaders of the three major political parties thoroughly discussed the basic agenda prepared by a task force, comprising representatives from the
three major parties regarding the regrouping and integration of the Maoist combatants, Singh, who was present during the meeting, said.

He said the responsibility for resolving the issues was handed over to the top leaders of the three main political parties as the meeting failed to sort out the differences on the key issues.

One of the key sticking points in the stalled 2006 peace process has been the proposed integration of 19,000 former Maoist rebels into the army, with the Nepali Congress and
military commanders resisting their en masse integration.

Nepal's top leaders have decided to meet again on Tuesday to decide on the five key issues relating to the integration of the former guerrillas with the army, modality and norms of
integration, determination of number of combatants to be integrated, their rank and rehabilitation package.

The Maoists have now proposed the integration of some 8,000 of the 19,000 former PLA guerrillas, while Nepali Congress has agreed on the figure of 4,000, sources said.

The possibility of formation of a national government, with the inclusion of Nepali Congress and CPN-UML was also discussed.

The three parties inched closer to an understanding on concluding the peace process and forming an experts group to expedite the task of drafting the constitution to institutionalize the achievements of the 'Peoples' Movement' of 2006, Singh said.

Averting a major constitutional crisis, Nepalese lawmakers on August 29 approved the extension of the term of the interim parliament by three months. The extended deadline for drafting the Constitution will expire by the November-end and the process is unlikely to be over by that time.

(Agencies)