22 September 2010 The United Nations envoy to Nepal today called on all sides to redouble their efforts to complete the remaining tasks under the country’s stalled peace process before the world body’s mission in the South Asian nation wraps up its work next year.
Last week the Security Council voted to extend the mandate of the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) one last time, until 15 January 2011, after the country’s opposing political groups reached agreement on completing the final tasks of the peace process by that date.
“The Security Council’s decision that UNMIN’s mandate will terminate on 15 January creates even greater expectations that the parties will make rapid and significant headway,” Karin Landgren, Representative of the Secretary-General for Nepal and head of UNMIN, told a news conference in the capital, Kathmandu.
“In the time remaining until 15 January 2011, the mission will focus on providing any appropriate support the parties request to complete the peace process, and on planning its organized withdrawal,” she stated.
“The mandate period determined by the Security Council is not flexible and UNMIN must suspend substantive activities when the mandate expires.”
UNMIN was established in 2007, one year after the Government and the Maoists signed a peace pact bringing an end to a decade-long conflict that claimed some 13,000 lives. Its mandate includes monitoring the management of arms and armed personnel of both the Maoists and the Nepal Army, as well as in assisting in monitoring ceasefire arrangements.
Ms. Landgren, during a briefing to the Security Council earlier this month, called on the country’s leadership to bring the peace process back on track, noting that while it has not failed, it has moved far more slowly and unevenly than anticipated.
Outstanding tasks in the peace process include completing the draft of the new constitution and resolving the future of the Nepal Army and the Maoist Army. Among the other challenges are continued insecurity and lack of progress in addressing impunity for human rights violations.
Ms. Landgren welcomed the agreement reached in recent days on completing the remaining tasks under the peace process, as well as efforts by the parties to move forward with electing a prime minister.
“Let me welcome again the recent developments here, which reflect the parties’ ability to consult and agree on critical issues that will lead to early progress in the peace process,” she said. “I hope this momentum will be maintained.”
She added that the Council will be actively following Nepal’s progress over the coming months, and announced that UN political chief B. Lynn Pascoe will visit the country next month.
In a related development, Ms. Landgren voiced her strong concern today over the alleged involvement of Maoist army personnel in two recent incidents that are being investigated by the police.
The first was a clash with villagers in Thotri village in Sindhuli district on 16 September and the second was a robbery in Gwagha village in Gulmi district on 24 August.
UNMIN called on the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) and the responsible Maoist commanders to cooperate fully with the ongoing police investigations into the incidents.
It also called on the UCPN-M and all parties to “adhere strictly to the peace agreements and refrain from any provocative statements or actions,” according to a news release.
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