As Nepal is making little headway on ongoing peace process that has begun since end of 2006, the visiting UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs B Lynn Pascoe called upon political parties here to demonstrate a political will and readiness to compromise to resolve the issue of integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants before the term of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) expires in Mid-January.
“From UNMIN’s perspective for the next 100 days, the priority for the parties should be resolution of the issue of integration and rehabilitation,” Pascoe told a press conference before wrapping up his two-day visit on Thursday.
He urged the parties to view the remaining 100 days for the closure of UNMIN as an opportunity to complete the peace process. Pascoe was in Nepal for two days to assess the progress made on ongoing peace process of Nepal where UN’s political mission is carrying the monitoring task of Nepal Army and Maoist combatants languishing in different satellite camps across the country.
After waging the arms for one decade, in 2006, Nepal’s UCPN (Maoist) had decided to join the mainstream politics, shunning all kind of violence.
Then the Nepal’s mainstream political parties and UCPN (Maoist) jointly begun the peace process and requested UN to monitor and supervise the 19,000 Maoist ex-combatants. The UN had established its special political mission in support the peace process in Nepal in Jan. 2007. UNMIN is mandated to stay in Nepal till 15 January 2011 and UN pledges to complete the peace process by Jan. 14. Pascoe was in Kathmandu for making preparation for a smooth exit of UNMIN and transition after the UNMIN role is over.
In a meeting with Pascoe, Nepal’ Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has sought support of the UN for the rehabilitation of the ex-Maoists combatants saying that,” We will accomplish the integration of the combatants of our own but we have expected support for the rehabilitation of the combatants.” Nepal has sought direct financial assistance and other expertise of UN during the rehabilitation of the process. Since the establishment of the UNMIN, and through peace fund, millions of dollars have been spending each month under different entitlement.
International donor communities and UN, UN agencies have been providing the financial assistance to support UNMIN, to carry our the monitoring and supervision works, salaries to the cantoned Maoists combatants and their lodging and fooding facilities.
During discussions with the government, party leaders and members of the Special Committee overseeing the Maoist combatants, Pascoe encouraged all to forge consensus on the modality of integration and rehabilitation.
“Everyone that I talked to in the last day-and-a-half has made it clear that, yes, they could complete it between now and January 15th,” Pascoe said. “All that is needed is for all the sides to get together and to push the process forward,” he added.
Pascoe arrived on Tuesday to assess the progress in the implementation of the four-point agreement between the government and the Maoists signed on Sept. 13 and preparation for the post-UNMIN phase. He will brief the UN Security Council on the findings on Wednesday.
“The developments in the last month represent encouraging progress after a year marked mostly by stagnation. The renewed effort by the Special Committee and the establishment of Secretariat are important developments in this context,” Pascoe said.
Pascoe said all political leaders, whom he met during the visit, reaffirmed their commitment to complete the integration and rehabilitation on time.
“While these positive indications and promising signs of progress are good, they depend on the political will to break the political impasse and build consensus.”
The senior diplomat from the UN Headquarters also reiterated that the Security Council holds the position that UNMIN will left last Jan. 15, 2011.
He stressed the need of using the remaining months productively and stated that UNMIN is ready to lend its expertise and support to meet the deadline.