UN asks Nepal to speed up peace deal

September 22nd, 2010 - 4:38 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, Sep 22 (IANS) The UN agency assisting Nepal’s protracted peace process Wednesday asked the major parties in the Himalayan country to speed up the deal, underlining that it will exit in four months’ time.

Karin Landgren, chief of the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) that monitors the arms and combatants of the state army as well as the opposition Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army (PLA), said the four-month extension given to the UNMIN by the UN Security Council was not flexible and its mandate would end Jan 15.

“(This) creates even greater expectations that the parties will make rapid and significant headway,” said Landgren on her return to Kathmandu after briefing the Security Council in New York.

The UNMIN chief said that though there had not been any real progress in the peace process much of this year, the last 10 days showed positive developments.

These are, according to her, the pact between the government and the Maoists to ask the Security Council to extend UNMIN’s tenure by four months, a “gentlemen’s agreement” between the Maoists and the ruling communists not to take part in the upcoming prime ministerial election that has failed to throw up a new premier even after seven rounds, and reactivating the Special Committee that will decide the fate of nearly 20,000 PLA combatants.

The UN undersecretary general for political affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, will visit Nepal next month to monitor the progress made by the country, especially on the agreement between the government and the Maoists.

The Security Council has asked UN chief Ban Ki-moon to report on the implementation of the four-point pact by Oct 15.

Landgren said the Security Council has repeated its call to the political parties to implement an action plan on integrating and rehabilitating the PLA guerrillas with a “timetable and clear benchmarks”.

The UNMIN has also expressed strong concern over the alleged involvement of PLA personnel in two recent incidents under police investigation.

Last week, the guerrillas reportedly clashed with villagers in Thotri in Sindhuli district. Also, last month some of them were said to be involved in a robbery in Gwagha village in Gulmi district.

Landgren said these incidents will be raised in the next meeting of the Joint Monitoring Coordination Committee responsible for supervising compliance with the implementation of the Agreement on the Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies signed between the Maoists and the parties in 2006.

The UNMIN has asked the Maoists to cooperate with the police investigations and adhere strictly to the peace agreements.

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