Arms registration and storage concluded in western Nepal – UN envoy

Arms registration and storage concluded in western Nepal – UN envoy

Martin at Maoist army 7th cantonment site in Kailali
Arms registration and storage by United Nations monitors in the western part of Nepal has now been concluded, the world body's senior envoy to the Himalayan country confirmed today.

Arms registration and storage by United Nations monitors in the western part of Nepal has now been concluded, the world body's senior envoy to the Himalayan country confirmed today.

Ian Martin, the Special Representative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, made the announcement following a visit Friday to cantonment sites of the Maoist People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Kailali and Surkhet.

He arrived at Kailali just as UN teams were registering and storing the arms of a final group of about 100 of the combatants based at the PLA seventh main cantonment site. He was joined on the ground by the senior UN arms monitor, General Jan Erik Wilhelmsen.

Under the procedures established by agreement between the Government and Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M), the arms were catalogued and bar-coded by registration teams before being stored on racks inside cargo containers. The containers are locked and subject to round-the-clock UN monitoring.

Arms storage at Surkhet, which Mr. Martin toured later in the day, had been completed on Thursday.

The envoy was received at Kailali by Commander Prajwal of the PLA and at Surkhet by Commander Pratik. Both expressed complaints of inadequate living conditions in the cantonments.

“With only two sites to go in the East, arms registration and storage is now approaching its conclusion, and that will be an important staging post in the peace process. But the conditions in the cantonments are lagging behind. I intend to raise these concerns with the Government,” Mr. Martin said.

He was accompanied in his delegation by two UN experts in the disposal of mines, improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordinance. He was joined also by B.B. Gurung, Commander of the Interim Task Force.

Composed of Nepali ex-servicemen from the Indian and British armies, the Interim Task Force has played a critical role in supplementing the advance group of UN arms monitors sent pending full deployment of the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN).