Nepal’s battle with UN intensifies despite extension

September 16th, 2010 - 5:09 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, Sep 16 (IANS) Though the UN Security Council unanimously agreed to continue its assistance in Nepal’s peace process for four more months, the government Thursday criticised the reports tabled by UN chief Ban Ki-moon and his representative in Nepal, Karin Landgren, as unbalanced and not treating Nepal as a sovereign country.

An eight-page statement issued by caretaker Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal’s office Thursday said the reports by Ban and Landgren, who heads the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) supervising the arms and combatants of the Nepal Army as well as opposition Maoists’ guerrilla fighters, could damage Nepal’s “excellent historic relationship with the UN” and tarnish UN organisations’ reputation in Nepal.

The caretaker government has taken strong exception to Ban telling the UNSC that any changes in UNMIN’s mandate should be discussed with a “new duly-formed government”.

Nepal’s Permanent Representative to the UN has already objected to it in New York while four former foreign ministers raised serious objections in Nepal over an official UN report questioning “the legitimacy of the legally constituted government of Nepal”, saying it went against the UN Charter’s provisions on how to treat the governments of sovereign member states.

The PMO said many senior leaders of the ruling Communist party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) and Nepali Congress had been offended and questioned the point of interacting with UNMIN as their views were “systematically disregarded or derided”.

The government, which has in the past accused UNMIN of being biased towards the Maoists, said Landgren’s report depicted the ruling parties as being in turmoil and irresponsible while “glossing over” Maoist faults.

The government is objecting to Landgren’s reference to a six-day general strike imposed nationwide by the Maoists in May to topple the elected government. The report said, “after six days, the strike was called off and the demonstrators made an orderly retreat”.

The PMO said diplomats in New York would think it was a popular, peaceful democratic exercise as the report ignored the “huge suffering inflicted on ordinary people, with millions of children deprived of schooling, patients not being able to go to hospitals, businesses forced to close losing billions of rupees, and great hardships to daily wage earners….”

The government has also objected to Landgren saying a rift in the UML forced the government to sign an agreement with the Maoists and extend parliament’s term by one year.

It said while the government had already decided to extend the term of the house, the Maoists were opposing it and inviting a constitutional crisis simply because they sought the prime minister’s ouster even though he commanded majority in parliament.

The government is also objecting to Landgren’s criticism of the army for going ahead with recruitment to fill vacancies and using the same terms for the state army as well as the Maoist guerrillas, thereby giving them equal status.

It said the Nepal Army was already governed by the interim constitution and national laws and was answerable to parliament. Therefore, it did not have to remain under UN supervision, unlike the Maoist fighters awaiting rehabilitation.

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at sudeshna.s@ians.in)

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