A high-level United Nations team has arrived in Nepal aiming to forge a “common understanding” about the scope and nature of a UN role in the peace process in the strife-torn Himalayan kingdom, with the head of the mission stressing it will take into account views from all sectors of society.
The visit comes after Secretary-General Kofi Annan said last week that recent developments in the country provide an “unprecedented opportunity” to achieve a negotiated solution to the 10 years of conflict between the Government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).
“Through consultations with all concerned, the mission seeks to forge a common understanding about the scope and nature of the UN role in the peace process. The inclusive nature of our consultations is fundamental,” said Staffan de Mistura, the head of the delegation.
“In addition to its contacts with the Government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), it will also meet with leaders of political parties and members of parliament, civil society organizations, the news media, and representatives of the international community.”
Mr. de Mistura, who until recently was the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Iraq, stressed that clarity among all concerned is “absolutely essential if the UN is to play an effective role as an impartial third party.”
The mission, which is scheduled to be in Nepal until 3 August, includes staff with expertise in peace processes in other countries around the world, and across a range of disciplines. It will work mainly in the capital Kathmandu but its members may also carry out visits to the interior of the country.
“As it shares its expertise and explains the UN’s methods of work, the mission will also be taking close note of the particular needs and characteristics of Nepal,” he stressed, adding that it has not come to the Himalayan kingdom with any “pre-established formulas or timetables in mind.”
After completing its work, the mission will report to the Secretary-General on its findings.