Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the extension of the Constituent Assembly, which has been tasked with drafting the country's new constitution.
According to media reports, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has announced he will step down after Maoists agreed to support his proposal to extend the Assembly's term, which expired yesterday.
The body was elected in May 2008, two years after the Government and the Maoists signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ending a decade-long civil war that claimed some 13,000 lives in the South Asian nation.
Completing the drafting of the constitution – whose deadline was yesterday – is one of the main outstanding tasks of the peace process, which has recently stalled amid an ongoing political stalemate over key issues such as power-sharing arrangements and the reintegration of former Maoist combatants.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said that he “commends all parties concerned, their leaders and the Prime Minister, for the compromise that preserved the country's peace process, and for their commitment to national unity.”
He also calls “on all the parties to solve other pending issues in the spirit of consensus and cooperation, to carry the peace process forward.”
For her part, the Secretary-General's Representative, Karin Landgren, said that the extension of the Assembly “secures the continuation of the peace process and was made possible through intensive dialogue and readiness to compromise.”
She urged the parties to “continue in the spirit of compromise and with renewed dedication to the drafting of Nepal's new constitution and finding solutions to peace process commitments, including a dignified and well-planned resolution of the future of the Maoist army personnel.”
The UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN ), established in 2007, has been assisting the country with the peace process. Its mandate, which runs until 15 September, 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.