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Nepal peace under threat as UN pulls out: Analysts

A UN mission set up to oversee Nepal`s post-war transition will close later this week.

Kathmandu: A UN mission set up to oversee
Nepal`s post-war transition will close later this week, as
fears rise that a failure to fulfill pledges made at the end of
the conflict is threatening lasting peace.

The UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) was created in 2007
with a temporary mandate to monitor progress towards durable
peace after a decade-long conflict between Maoist insurgents
and the state in which at least 16,000 people died.

It helped establish camps for thousands of Maoist
fighters pending agreement on their integration into the
national army -- a key tenet of the peace agreement.

UNMIN also assisted with 2008 elections that brought
the former rebels briefly to power.

But progress has stalled, with growing disagreements
between the Maoists and their political rivals, and the United
Nations said last September the mission would close on January

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said UNMIN was
designed to be a transitional arrangement, and it made little
sense to keep it open "without any meaningful progress by the
parties on political issues."

Officials also complained the mission had been
unfairly dragged into the political battles that have
prevented the formation of a new government since the last one
collapsed in June.

More than four years after the war ended, many of the
promises made by both sides remain unfulfilled and the planned
merger of the two armies, intended to draw a line under the
conflict, looks increasingly unlikely.

"The larger peace process is already unravelling,"
journalist and political commentator Prashant Jha said.

"I`m quite pessimistic. I don`t see a broad deal
(between the parties) happening, and if that is the case, the
framework of the 2006 peace agreement will collapse."

The UN Security Council urged Nepal`s political
leaders to reach agreement before January 15 on the fate of
the 19,000 members of the Maoist People`s Liberation Army
(PLA) confined to military camps since the end of the war.

However, the issue remains unresolved, and no
arrangement has been put in place for the monitoring of the
two rival armies and their weapons after UNMIN leaves.

The caretaker government says the Nepalese army should
no longer be subject to monitoring, and wants supervision of
the PLA camps to be handed over to a specially formed
cross-party committee.

But the Maoists say that would go against the 2006
peace agreement and have asked the UN to extend its mission by
another four months -- a request expert say is unlikely to be


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