Top UN envoy urges parties to bring Nepalese peace process back on

Top UN envoy urges parties to bring Nepalese peace process back on

7 September 2010The top United Nations envoy to Nepal today appealed to all parties to urgently tackle the existing climate of mistrust and the problems in forming a government, stressing that the stalled peace process must be brought back on track as soon as possible. “Nepal’s peace process has not failed, even though it has moved far more slowly and unevenly than anticipated by either the parties or the Council,” Karin Landgren, the Secretary-General’s Representative for Nepal, told the Security Council today.“The process can be brought back on track if the political leadership is ready to reassess priorities and place this process at the front and centre of their political activity, recognizing that only through continued and persistent negotiation can it move forward.”Briefing the 15-member body on the work of the UN mission in Nepal (UNMIN), she said that the parties have a great deal of work to do to make the case that they intend the country’s peace to be permanent and irreversible. In 2006, the Government and the Maoists signed a wide-ranging peace pact ending a decade-long civil war that claimed some 13,000 lives. UNMIN was established a year late to assist the country with the peace process. 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. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report on the request of Nepal for UN assistance in support of its peace process, painted a “discouraging picture of the state of Nepal’s peace process, and of the failure of the political parties to invest in its revival,” said Ms. Landgren, who presented the document to the Council.The report highlighted the main outstanding tasks in the peace process, namely completing the draft of the new constitution and resolving the future of the Nepal Army and the Maoist Army. Other challenges include continued insecurity and lack of progress in addressing impunity for human rights violations. The deadline for drafting the new constitution – considered a key element of the peace process – was extended in May as the parties remained deadlocked on issues such as power-sharing arrangements and the reintegration of the Maoist ex-combatants.Ms. Landgren noted that despite plans to present the first draft of the new constitution in November, there are doubts that this timetable can be kept. “But the prospect of forming a consensus government remains equally, if not more, remote,” she added.In addition, the Nepal Army has since 2007 continued to recruit personnel in defiance of the arms monitoring agreement, while the caretaker Government has recently been arguing for an end to international monitoring of the Nepal Army, she stated. This has been accompanied by a “flood of criticism” directed at UNMIN, alleging that the mission is partial and obstructing the Government and the Nepal Army in fulfilling their national duties.“UNMIN’s aim is to complete our support to the peace process effectively and wind up our presence with minimal disruption to that process,” said Ms. Landgren. The risks to the peace process are real, she stated, and include an unresolved leadership battle following the resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal in early July which may keep critical decisions in limbo, and that the Constituent Assembly, even after the 12-month extension, will expire without a new constitution having been drafted. “The biggest risk of all may be that the peace process and parliamentary processes appear discredited, sending a discouraging signal to existing and emerging groups about taking the democratic route to push for change,” said the envoy.Mr. Ban has indicated in his report that he is not in favour of repeated extensions of UNMIN’s mandate in an atmosphere of persistent and unfounded criticism that complicates its ability to function. Under the circumstances, he recommends that the mission’s current mandate, which runs until 15 September, be rolled over to permit the necessary discussions to take place with a duly formed government, in the context of the parties’ fulfilment of their commitments and the phasing out of the mission. “The Secretary-General would then report back to the Council, and in the event of there being neither clarity nor consensus in this regard, would propose alternative measures, including the possible termination of the mandate,” said Ms. Landgren.Mr. Ban continues to desire that the mission complete its tasks, and that it does not intend to stay longer than is necessary, she added.Ambassador Gyan Chandra Acharya of Nepal told the Council that it is hoped that a new government will be formed soon. Then the political parties and the new government can focus on the remaining tasks within the peace process such as the drafting of the constitution and the integration and rehabilitation of combatants.“We all look forward to the successful conclusion of the peace process at the earliest so that we would ensure further stability, peace and sustainable and rapid economic progress in the country,” he said.He added that the Secretary-General’s report should have been “more balanced, nuanced and reflective of the correct assessment of the situation on the ground in its entirety,” saying it did not mention the efforts of the Government in several areas.


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