|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6398th Meeting (AM)
‘We are Not in Favour of Repeated Extensions of UN Mission in Nepal in Climate
That Undermines Its Ability to Function Effectively,’ Security Council Hears
Political Affairs Chief, Briefing on Nepal Visit, Says Impasse Persists,
As Does Timeline for Ceasing Mission’s Substantive Functions after 15 January 2011
The political impasse in Nepal remained, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs told the Security Council today, and despite continued efforts towards achieving the objectives of the caretaker Government and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN-M), no breakthrough had been achieved.
Briefing the Council on his visit to Nepal on 6 and 7 October, B. Lynn Pascoe said he had held extensive consultations to obtain a first-hand understanding of the state of the peace process, more specifically, of the implementation of the Four Point-Agreement of 13 September between the Government and the UCPN-M.
He said he had been very firm in stating that, after 15 January 2011, the arms monitoring and other substantive functions of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) would cease, as had been decided in Council resolution 1939 (2010) of 15 September. After 15 January, any remaining staff of UNMIN would be there to liquidate the Mission. He had urged all concerned to use the time remaining to complete outstanding tasks in the peace process.
UNMIN’s withdrawal, however, did not mean that the United Nations was abandoning Nepal and its peace process, he said. Through the country team and from Headquarters, support would be available to Nepal’s Government and people after UNMIN’s departure.
He said the challenge to the international community was to make clear to all political actors that the status quo was not tenable. There was no doubt that the 15 January deadline for UNMIN’s withdrawal had created a new sense of urgency among the parties and the need for more focused thinking on how to end the prolonged stasis. It was still possible for the parties to meet their targets on time, but that would require translating the new-found sense of urgency into decision-making and concrete action.
UNMIN had been established on 23 January 2007, with a one-year mandate as “a focused mission of limited duration”, after a decade-long insurgency had ended in November 2006, he recalled. Implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Accord of November 2006 and the constitution-making process had encountered serious difficulties along the way. There were important commitments that had not been completed, including the adoption of a new constitution and addressing the future of the two armies.
Although the Mission had largely accomplished its tasks, he said the parties had requested the Mission’s continued presence and support, given the lack of progress on the integration and rehabilitation of Maoist army personnel. UNMIN’s presence had been extended seven times, at the request of the parties, without any adjustment in its mandate that might have enabled the mission to deliver more effective support to resolve the ongoing disputes. Each extension request had been accompanied by renewed, and ultimately unfulfilled, commitments by the parties and the Government to expeditiously complete outstanding tasks.
“We are not in favour of repeated extensions of the Mission’s mandate in a climate that undermines its ability to function effectively,” he said, noting that the Mission had found itself subjected to controversies stemming from a deterioration in the political climate, misrepresentations of its mandate and the ensuing mismatch between the parties’ high expectations and the reality of UNMIN’s limited responsibilities. The Council’s decision in resolution 1939 (2010) to extend UNMIN’s mandate for a final four months was borne out of those considerations and was predicated on the agreement signed by the Government and the UCPN-M to “basically complete” the remaining tasks of the peace process by 14 January 2011.
He said that the 13 September agreement between the Government and the UCPN-M committed the two parties to move towards “the logical conclusion of the peace process” in three main areas: consensus on integration and rehabilitation; bringing the Maoist combatants under the Special Committee on integration and rehabilitation; and “basically completing” the remaining tasks of the peace process by 14 January 2011, including constitution-drafting and power-sharing.
Mr. Pascoe said that, on the first issue, he had been told that the Special Committee had been reactivated, but had yet to achieve progress on core issues. The Committee would only be able to work effectively when political leaders agreed on essential decisions to be made regarding the integration of Maoist army personnel into the security forces. Those decisions included the numbers to be integrated and the modalities for integration.
Regarding the second issue, he said UNMIN had provided the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction with the date on verified Maoist army personnel. A secretariat had been formed to support the Special Committee to implement the supervision, integration and rehabilitation of Maoist army personnel. The secretariat had thus far focused on the conceptual and operational planning of bringing the cantonments under the Special Committee’s effective supervision, but essential political decisions on integration and rehabilitation must be made soon by Nepal’s political leaders.
He said he had advised the parties to give priority to carrying out the integration and rehabilitation of the combatants, which would permit the closure of the cantonments, rather than focusing on building an elaborate and expensive supervision and monitoring system to take over the responsibilities from UNMIN. The parties’ current thinking envisaged three options for Maoist army personnel: integration into the security forces; rehabilitation to civilian life through vocational training and support packages; and “voluntary exit” involving a single cash payment.
The democratization of the Nepal Army was a parallel issue, he said. The Organization encouraged progress in that area, as well as in addressing outstanding human rights and accountability issues, which was important to Nepal’s standing as a significant United Nations peacekeeping contributor. He had also underlined that the Maoist army and its leadership shared the responsibility to account for human rights violations during and after the conflict and should fulfil its solemn commitments in that regard.
Power-sharing was the most important of the remaining issues, he said, noting that his interlocutors had argued that a solution could generate meaningful progress across all contentious areas. Three months after the resignation of Nepal’s Prime Minister, however, the country was still led by a caretaker government. Difficulties in the stalled constitution-making process could be overcome once the political climate improved.
Many leaders across Nepal’s political fault lines had expressed their hopes, however, that there could be a political breakthrough in early November, he said, adding that that was only possible if the parties exhibit the necessary flexibility. Progress on forming a consensus government or on the substantive issues related to integration and rehabilitation could provide the critical momentum for a breakthrough.
The meeting was called to order at 10:48 a.m. and adjourned at 11:07 a.m.
* *** *For information media • not an official record