Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without – Buddha

Nepal Maoists win battle over UN

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 14, 2010


KATHMANDU: Locked in a battle of will with the Maoists over the future role of the UN in Nepal’s wilting peace process, the government was forced to blink first and agree on Monday to extend the world body’s tenure at the expense of the national army. Now the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) gets a four-month extension with no redction in its mandate despite the Nepal Army lobbying to be freed of its supervision.

The extension comes even as Nepal’s ruling parties had been accusing the UNMIN – entrusted by the peace agreement of 2006 with monitoring the arms and soldiers of the Nepal Army as well as the Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army – of meddling in Nepal’s internal matters and speaking as the former guerrillas’ spokesman. As UNMIN’s term neared expiry Wednesday, the ruling parties had been favouring reducing its mandate and taking the army off its supervision. As the UN Security Council pondered the report on Nepal tabled by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York, the government and the Maoists had sent separate letters, seeking different roles for UNMIN.

However, after stiff resistance by the Maoists, the parties capitulated Monday, agreeing to give UNMIN a “final” extension for four months with all its functions intact. This will be UNMIN’s seventh extension since it entered Nepal in 2007. The agreement is likely to make the Nepal Army unhappy as well as lose its face, especially after army chief Chhatraman Singh Gurung himself had campaigned for his troops to be freed from UNMIN supervision.

In exchange, the Maoists have agreed to conclude the peace process with the rehabilitation of their nearly 20,000 combatants. The PLA will now come under a special committee which will seek to rehabilitate them and dismantle the 28 cantonments where they have been confined since the civil war ended in 2006.

A joint statement signed by caretaker prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda late Monday also agreed to resume the blocked peace process from Friday and conclude it by Jan 14.

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