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‘Significant progress’ made in UN monitoring of peace process in Nepal, says envoy

‘Significant progress’ made in UN monitoring of peace process in Nepal, says envoy

UN registration team with Maoist commanders
United Nations monitors have made “significant progress” in overseeing Nepal’s landmark peace deal, which was concluded between the Government and Maoist fighters last year, the top UN envoy to the Himalayan country said today, highlighting in particular the registration of Maoist arms and combatants.

The Personal Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal, Ian Martin, also said that the Security Council was fully behind the idea of setting up a new UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), and was also encouraged by the positive developments so far that come as the country has promulgated an interim constitution as well as set up an interim administration.

“We have also seen significant progress in moving forward with the UN monitoring of arms and armies. The full advance contingent of 35 UN monitors is now in Nepal. Monitors have been deployed to operate out of offices in Nepalgunj and Kathmandu, and an advance team has gone to Biratnagar to establish an office there,” Mr. Martin said.

The registration of Maoist army arms and combatants, which began yesterday at the main cantonment sites in Chitwan and Nawalparasi, has gone smoothly, he said. “Our monitors have also had productive field visits to meet and interact with Nepal Army commanders. We expect that the Nepal Army will be positioned to quickly store an equal number of weapons.”

Both the Government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which signed the peace deal on 21 November, requested assistance from the UN in monitoring the agreement that seeks to end 10-years of civil war that killed around 15,000 people and displaced over 100,000 others.

UN arms monitors are being supported by an interim task force of former Nepalese soldiers from the Indian and British armies and, as part of further assistance by the world body, Mr. Martin said the chief electoral adviser had now arrived to help with preparations for this year’s scheduled polls.

“Our international electoral assistance team continues to grow with the arrival of Fida Nasrallah, our Chief Electoral Adviser, on Monday. At the invitation of the Chief Election Commissioner, the team is in the process of moving its offices to the Election Commission to enable them to work even more closely with their counterparts.”

At the start of the year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a report to the Security Council recommended that a small UN political mission comprising unarmed military inspectors, electoral exports, and police and civil administration teams be established to monitor the peace deal.