UN chief may end UNMIN`s mission in Nepal

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will propose ending the UNMIN`s mandate in Nepal.

Kathmandu: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will propose ending the UNMIN`s mandate in Nepal if political parties fail to fulfill their earlier agreements and commitments linked to the integration of the former Maoist guerrilla force with the military.

The tenure of United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) is set to end on September 15 even as the country has been in political limbo since the June 30 resignation of Nepal, who is currently heading a caretaker government.

Ban has said that he will propose termination of the mandate of the UNMIN, which is tasked to manage the arms and armed personnel of the Maoists guerrilla force and the military, if political parties here fail to reach a consensus on fulfilling their commitments on the future of the military and the former Maoist combatants and the phasing out of

Ban’s warning over the future of UNMIN appears in his latest report to be submitted to the UN Security Council, which is set to meet on September 7 to consider its extension beyond September 15.

"Should these discussions offer neither clarity over the role of the Mission nor any prospect of consensus among the parties to the CPA and AMMAA (Agreement on Management and Monitoring of Arms and Armies) regarding a realistic and time-bound fulfillment of their commitments concerning the armies and the phasing out of UNMIN monitoring, then I will propose alternative measures to the Council, including the possible termination of UNMIN’s mandate," Ban said in the report, which has been circulated to Nepal and UN Security
Council members only.

"Since January 2010, the Council has acceded to two requests for four-month extensions of the mission. I am not in favor of repeated extensions of the Mission’s mandate in an atmosphere of persistent and unfounded criticism that complicates its ability to function,” Ban 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 and expires on September 15.

The extension for UNMIN has become controversial, with senior ministers and political leaders from the non-Maoist parties often criticizing 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 mandate.

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.

Most of Nepal`s ruling parties are in favour of extending the term of UNMIN, but with a changed mandate so as to ensure that the army is kept out of its monitoring. Peace Minister Rakam Chemjong said the government will decide on the future of the mission next week.

The government is likely to take a decision on the future of the UN’s political mission next week, he said.

Amid the political crisis in the country, Prime Minister Nepal held talks with ambassadors of the USA, Japan and the UK yesterday in a bid to push for the extension of the tenure of UNMIN.

Defence Minister Bidhya Bhandari held a meeting with Indian Ambassador Rakesh Sood on Thursday and pushed for a change in the present mandate so as to remove the Nepal Army from its supervision, a media report said.

Earlier in the 10-page report, Ban expressed his concern over Nepal’s request for short term extensions and frequent attacks on UNMIN by the government and other agencies. Ban has further said that the mission has been repeatedly made a "scapegoat for matters which lie beyond its mandate".

In his report to the UNSC last year, the Secretary General expressed concerns over the failure to implement the major commitments of the peace pact and the peace process. Ban, in his latest report, expressed dissatisfaction over the parties failing to implement their commitments on the peace process, which he said has made no notable headway since his last report to the Council in April.

"The six extensions of UNMIN’s mandate have taken place on the unfulfilled expectation, and the commitment of the government, that remaining key tasks of the peace process would be brought to a close,” he said, adding that the commitments have become unrealistic in the absence of a consensual approach.

Stating that Nepal is being governed by a caretaker government and the parties are paying more attention to the formation of a new government, Ban has recommended that the Security Council roll over UNMIN’s current mandate in order to permit the necessary discussions to take place with a duly formed government, according to the media report.

Nepal`s lawmakers have failed to elect a new prime minister in five rounds of parliamentary vote, plunging the country into a political crisis in the absence of a government.

They have rejected Nepali Congress vice president Ramchandra Poudyal and his rival Maoist chief Prachanda in five rounds of vote since Prime Minister Nepal quit on June 30 amid intense pressure from the former rebels, plunging the country into a deep political crisis in the absence of a government.

CPN-Maoist, which ended its decade-long civil war in 2006, is the single largest party with 238 seats in the 601-member Constituent Assembly, while Nepali Congress has 114 members in the House whose two-year term was extended by one year on May 28.

No clear winner is expected to emerge in the next round of voting in Parliament tomorrow.