09/10/2010, 00.00
NEPAL
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UN report on peace process causes row between government and Maoists

by Kalpit Parajuli
Rebel disarmament, their incorporation into the Nepali armed forces and too much UN supervision of the latter are the main causes of disagreement. UN Secretary General Ban K-moon blames the caretaker government of not doing enough to advance the peace process. The UN mission’s future is surrounded by controversy as the date for the end of its mandate approaches (15 September).
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Nepal is facing more problems three months after its prime minister resigned. Since yesterday, the caretaker government and the Maoist opposition are at loggerheads over the role of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), which is in charge of monitoring the peace deal between the Nepali armed forced and the Maoist insurgency.

At the heart of the matter are the disarmament and incorporation of Maoist fighters in the Nepali military, which began after the end of the civil war in 2006 under United Nations supervision. The Nepali government wants the military to be in charge of its part of the process, and leave UNMIN to supervise the Maoists only. Conversely, Maoists want the United Nations to continue its work, monitoring the size of the army, and facilitate the integration of rebel fighters.

UNMIN’s recent report has complicated the situation by blaming the government for not pursuing fully the peace process and expressing doubts about the military’s role in it because of resistance to limits imposed on recruiting and controls like those of the Maoists.

“We would have liked to see the report more balanced, nuanced and reflective of the correct assessment of the situation on the ground in its entirety,” said Gyan Chandra Acharya, Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations. In his view, the report should have appropriately reflected the government’s “hard” work in pushing forward the peace process, and provided a balanced view of the situation.

For Acharya, in its report the United Nations made a serious error in putting the Nepali armed forced and Maoist fighters on the same level.

“With the elections of the constituent assembly and the establishment of a special committee, the concept of two armies is no longer valid. Maoist combatants should not be referred to as such consistently throughout the report. A national army cannot be equated with combatants.”

Government and Maoists are also on opposite sides when it comes to the end of the UNMIN’s mandate, which expires on 15 September.

The caretaker government sent a letter to United Nations, asking for a four-month extension of UNMIN’s mission, which would no longer see it supervise the armed forces.

Maoists yesterday sent their own letter to the United Nations, asking it to remain for another six months until all points in the peace deal are implemented.

Meanwhile, the country is without a prime minister after Madhav Kumar Nepal resided on 29 June. A seventh attempt to replace him failed on 5 September, whilst the next one is scheduled for 26 September.

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