Ban to meet Nepal PM Friday

October 30th, 2008 - 5:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Oct 30 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will hold parleys with Nepal’s first Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” Friday when he arrives in Nepal on a two-day visit as part of his four-nation Asian trip.The UN chief will be discussing the Maoist government’s mandate to draft a new constitution within two years and the difficult task of integrating the Maoists’ guerrilla army, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), with the Nepal Army (NA).

Ban, who met Prachanda in New York last month during the UN General Assembly, has expressed concern that little progress has been made by Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, which first convened on May 28, towards “its main task of drafting a new constitution”.

In his report tabled before the UN Security Council this month, Ban said: “This delay is raising concerns about the prospects for the completion of the Assembly’s task within the two-year period provided for under the Interim Constitution”.

Ban has also expressed concern at the inability of the Prachanda government to form a special committee that would oversee the key task of merging the PLA with the NA.

Though after several false starts, the government finally said this week it had formed a five-member panel headed by deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bamdev Gautam to oversee the integration, the team is yet to be complete with the main opposition party, former premier Girija Prasad Koirala’s Nepali Congress, demanding it should have two members on the team, like the Maoists, instead of one.

“Meanwhile, strongly differing positions regarding the integration of Maoist army personnel into the Nepal Army continue to be expressed publicly by leaders of political parties, retired military personnel and representatives of civil society, on an issue which remains central to the peace process,” Ban said in the report.

The UN chief has also pointed out that the new government is yet to keep the pledges made during the signing of the peace pact in 2006 that ended a decade-old savage armed conflict.

“These include compensation to victims, investigations into the fate of those who disappeared, return of displaced persons and property seized during the conflict, and the establishment of several commissions provided for in the peace agreements,” the report said.

On Saturday, the UN chief will address a special session of the Constituent Assembly.

He is also scheduled to visit Lumbini in south Nepal, the birth place of the Buddha, and one of the holiest Buddhist shrines in the world.

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