10/30/2008, 00.00
NEPAL - UN
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UN secretary visits Nepal to support peace process

by Kalpit Parajuli
Ban Ki-moon will encourage dialogue among the political factions, and will call for a consensus on the role of the former Maoist guerrillas, now the national army. Visit to the Buddha's birthplace scheduled.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - A spur to the peace process, and a call for political parties to reach a consensus in order to resolve the question of the former Maoist guerrillas, to be integrated into the national armed forces. These are the main objectives of the UN secretary general's official visit to Nepal, scheduled for October 31-November 1.

In a press release sent out by the United Nations in New York, Ban Ki-moon says that many integration models have failed in different countries, putting the peace process at risk. In Nepal, there are also "substantial disagreements" among the various political parties, which are "to be overcome," in order to adopt a shared solution following thorough study of the political and social situation.

He also says that when the process of integrating the Maoist guerrillas into the national army begins, the UN peacekeeping forces will reduce their presence and activities, gradually withdrawing from the country.

During his visit, Ban Ki-moon will meet with President Rambaran Yadav, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal - better known as "Prachanda" - the Nepalese foreign minister, and other leading government officials. He was also supposed to have attended a session of parliament, but its work has been suspended because of the celebrations for Tihar, the second most important Hindu feast, known in India by the name of Diwali, and for Chhath. So instead, the office of the secretary of the constituent assembly has organized a meeting to which all members of parliament have been invited.

On Saturday, November 1, Ban Ki-moon will visit the country's most famous Buddhist temple, in Lumbini, where tradition has it the Buddha was born. After paying homage to the birthplace of "the enlightened one," he will continue on his Asian tour to Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh.

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