‘Time running out for Nepal’

UN official warns that time is running out for completion of peace process.

Kathmandu: The government has proposed to set up a panel to monitor Nepal`s former Maoist combatants as a top UN official on Saturday warned that time was unning out for the completion of the 2006 peace process, ahead of next month`s withdrawal of the UNMIN mission.

UN Under Secretary-General B Lynn Pascoe, who ended his two-day visit on Saturday, warned Nepalese political parties that the time was running out for the completion of the 2006 peace process, amid the political deadlock that has derailed Nepal`s reconciliation process.

The top UN official said the completion of peace process is possible before the expiry of the tenure of the UN mission UNMIN in mid-January next year, but underlined the need for a consensus over integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist combatants.

"If there is political will on the part of the leaders of the political parties, it is possible to resolve the issue," he said at a press conference in the capital on Saturday.

A group of ministers led by Deputy Prime Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar briefed Pascoe about the proposal to set up the body to monitor the former Maoist combatants, myrepublica online, the website of the Republica newspaper, quoted sources as saying.

Non-Maoist members of a Special Committee responsible for integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants also shared the plan with the UN official, according to Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, who represents the Nepali Congress on the top panel.
According to the government proposal, some 154 ex-army men will supervise the former Maoist fighters who are currently being monitored by UNMIN since 2007.

However, the plan has been opposed by the Maoists.

Pascoe met senior Nepalese leaders here to prepare for next month`s smooth withdrawal of the UNMIN.

The top UN official has met top leaders, including President Ram Baran Yadav, Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala and Maoists chief Prachanda to discuss the political developments in the country, including the withdrawal of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) on January 15 next year.

During his talks, Prachanda assured Pascoe that some concrete steps would be taken to complete the integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist combatants, Sameer Dahal, an aide of Maoists chief was quoted as saying.

The standoff over the integration of the some 19,000 former Maoist guerrillas with the security forces has delayed the peace process.

Pascoe underlined the commitment of the UN to Nepal`s peace process and the need for a consensus among the political parties to swiftly implement the agreements on integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants housed in UN-monitored camps.
Pascoe, who was in India before arriving in Kathmandu on Friday on a two-day mission, held talks with Indian officials on the peace process.

The world body established the United Nations Mission in Nepal (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.

The country has been in a political limbo since the June 30 resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.

Nepalese lawmakers have failed to elect a new leader and put in place a government despite a series of run-off polls.


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