Mounting concern in UN Security Council over Nepal stalemateOctober 23rd, 2009 - 6:41 pm ICT by IANS
Kathmandu, Oct 23 (IANS) For the first time since 2006, when Nepal’s Maoist guerrillas signed a peace pact and confined their “People’s Liberation Army” (PLA) to makeshift barracks, the UN Security Council Friday sent representatives to visit the combatants, marking mounting concern in the world forum at the political stalemate in the Himalayan republic.
The heads of the embassies of China, France, Russia, Britain and the US, the permanent members of the UN Security Council, and of Japan visited the Maoist army cantonment at Chulachuli in eastern Ilam district to evaluate progress on implementation of the peace agreements, including the integration and rehabilitation of the PLA.
The envoys also inspected the Nepal Army arsenal in Chhauni in the capital, where, as part of the peace pact, the state army has laid down its weapons under UN supervision.
The visit reflects the Security Council’s mounting concern that the proposed merger of the PLA with the state army as well as the discharge of the Maoists’ child soldiers and other illegally recruited fighters is yet to start, even three years after the civil war ended.
The concern has been deepened by the fact that the UN agency mandated to monitor the Maoist and the state army, the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), will end its tenure in January 2010.
UNMIN’s stay in Nepal has been protracted due to the peace negotiations coming to a standstill and after several extensions, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed his desire to withdraw UNMIN after Jan 23, 2010.
Though Nepal’s new government said the PLA child soldiers would be discharged by November, it seems to be impossible with the former rebels Friday setting a Nov 1 ultimatum for the government.
The Maoists are asking the government to meet their demands by Nov 1 or face nationwide protests, including a civil disobedience movement calculated to bring the government on its knees.
The UN Security Council will be meeting in New York next month to discuss the Nepal situation and the UNMIN mandate Nov 6.
The ambassadors are asking the Nepal government to create a unified approach among the political parties and begin the process of discharge, integration and rehabilitation of the PLA so that the UNMIN can be winded up by Jan 23, 2010.
Tags: ban ki moon, cantonment, child soldiers, civil disobedience movement, liberation army, maoist, maoist guerrillas, maoists, members of the un security council, peace agreements, peace negotiations, peace pact, political stalemate, standstill, state army, un agency, un secretary general, un security council, unmin, world forum