UN gives ‘benefit of doubt’ to Nepali politician

As the United Nation’s political mission in Nepal, UNMIN, prepares to leave in mid-January, the visiting United Nations under Secretary General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe on Saturday expressed his commitment that the UN will continue its assistance to Nepal’s peace process even after the tenure of United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) expires.

UNMIN has been assisting Nepal’s ongoing peace process and monitoring and supervising the 19,000 ex-Maoist combatants languishing in various satellite camps.

The issue of integration and rehabilitation of ex- Maoist combatants is becoming tall order in Kathmandu as dispute surfaced among the political parties about modalities to be integrated in security forces.

The Maoist party has been demanding a “honorable package” of integration and rehabilitation of its combatants and wanted to merge them all Nepal’s security forces, a demand that has been resisted by other political parties.

Among the bone of contention is modality of Nepal’s new statue which is considered by 601- member Constituent Assembly. The hardcore communist party- Maoist and other traditional democratic forces are sharply divided over the concept of constitution, fundamental principals, press freedom, independent judiciary and others.

He added that the UN will, however, keep a close eye on the peace process from New York after the withdrawal of its special mission that was established on Jan. 23, 2007, to monitor the peace process.

Although the Security Council has already made public that Nepal based mission is going to warp up by mid- Jan, Nepal’s divided political parties also have divergence on UNMIN’s stay here after its current term and mandate expires on Jan. 15.

The current caretaker government and its allies want to withdrawal the UN’s political mission here but the largest party in Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, UCPN (Maoist) wants to see more UN’s role in Nepal to recover the fragile peace process. ‘It is very essential that the details of the merging be worked out,’ said Pascoe referring the integration process.

Other issues like power sharing, formation of new government are also lingering Nepal’s derailed peace process much.

The UN political department chief underlined the need for seriousness on the part of the political parties to take the peace process to a logical finish, saying that time is running out.

At a press conference organized in the Capital before wrapping up his two-day visit to Nepal, Pascoe remarked that it is possible to complete the key tasks of the peace process such as integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist combatants before UNMIN’s exit if there is a genuine political willingness.

“Peace process in Nepal is moving into a critical period…it is important that a political agreement on integration and rehabilitation of Maoist army is reached soon,” said UN Under-Secretary General B. Lynn Pascoe.

During his stay in Nepal, the UN official held discussions with the major political players regarding the progress made in the peace process and implementation of the pacts signed earlier.

Besides holding discussion with top political leaders and government ministers, Pascoe consulted with the officials of foreign diplomatic missions based in Kathmandu before concluding his visit.

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