Nepal govt, Maoists ink pact for UNMIN extension

The government and the main opposition Maoists on Tuesday agreed on a last-minute pact.

Kathmandu: The government and the main
opposition Maoists on Tuesday agreed on a last-minute pact, which
seeks to complete the stalled peace process in the next four
months and for a final extension of the UN Mission in Nepal
that was set to set to expire on Wednesday.

The caretaker government led by Prime Minister Madhav
Kumar Nepal and the UCPN-M inked a four-point agreement that
pledges to complete the three-year-old peace process by
January 14.

The government and the UCPN-Maoist on Tuesday sent a
consensus request to the United Nations to renew the term of
the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) for the "last
time" for four months, with continuity for the existing
mandate, after the Prime Minister and Maoist Chairman Pushpa
Kamal Dahal `Prachanda` agreed on the four-point agreement

"We have agreed primarily to complete the remaining
tasks of the peace process between September 17 and January 14
2011," Maoist Vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha was quoted
as saying by the myrepublica online, the website of Republica
newspaper today.

The world body established the UNMIN as a special
political mission in 2007 with a mandate to manage the arms
and armed personnel of the Maoists and the Nepal Army. Its
term has so far been renewed six times.

The tenure of UNMIN is set to end on September 15 even
as the country has been in political limbo since the June 30
resignation of Nepal.

The rehabilitation and integration of 19,602 Maoist
combatants with the army, currently living in 28 UN-supervised
camps, is at the heart of the stalled peace process.

Political differences between the major parties and
the opposition Maoists had delayed the management of ex-Maoist
army personnel which should have been completed much earlier.

The UCPN-Maoist has agreed to let its army come under
the command and control of a Special Committee as soon as
possible besides sharing all details about its combatants with
the committee headed by the prime minister, according to Rajan
Bhattarai, the prime minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor.

As per the agreement, the Maoists are to sign three
key documents related to the integration and rehabilitation of
their combatants. These include a code of conduct for Maoist
combatants, a plan of action for management of former Maoist
army personnel and directives related to the monitoring
mechanism, the report said.

The extension for UNMIN has become controversial, with
senior ministers and political leaders from the non-Maoist
parties often criticising the mission for its role in
monitoring the peace process.

Since its last term extension in May, it has been
target of wide criticism after its 60-week plan of action for
management of Maoist combatants was leaked to media. UNMIN was
accused of doing something that does not fall under its

Moreover, the army recently accused the mission of
favouring the Maoists. In the past, UNMIN was also accused of
not properly monitoring the Maoist combatants housed in
UN-supervised cantonments.

The deal clear the way for the government to send a
joint letter to the UN Security Council for the extension of
the term of the UNMIN.

"We have reached an agreement to extend the UNMIN term
for concluding the peace process logically," said Home
Minister Bhim Rawal.

"The government will send a letter tomorrow, he said

Maoist leader Shrestha said both the government and
the Maoist party are sending separate letters but with the
same content to the UN concerning UNMINs new term and mandate on Tuesday.

"We have reached a gentleman’s agreement to address
NAs difficulties through political dialogue. We are fully
committed to it (agreement)," said Shrestha, adding, UNMIN
however will continue to monitor NA.

Last week, both sides had sent separate and
conflicting letters to the UN on UNMINs future.

The controversy had begun because the government’s
letter to the UN was silent about monitoring of the Nepal Army
by UNMIN under its new mandate after September 15.

But in the four-point agreement, the government has
compromised with the Maoists on letting UNMIN monitor the
national army under a new mandate.

In return, the former rebels have reached a
gentlemen’s agreement with the government to address problems
faced by the army due to restrictions on movement, arms
procurements and recruitment, said Shrestha.

The Security Council will vote on whether to grant
request tomorrow.

UNMIN chief Karin Landgren said she hoped the
agreement would forward the peace process significantly.

"I am looking forward to reading the agreement, and I
hope that it offers a clear roadmap for moving the peace
process forward significantly in the coming four months,"
Landgren, who is currently in New York to brief the Security
Council on Nepal’s peace process, was quoted as saying by the
myrepublica online.

Last week, UN chief Ban-Ki-moon had warned that the
world body may terminate its political mission in Nepal unless
parties ended their standoff, as his senior officials
cautioned that prolonged political bickering and distrust
could hit the constitutional process.


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