The Security Council today reaffirmed its support for the peace process in Nepal, which is currently in the throes of a political impasse, as the United Nations special political mission in the Asian nation is set to wrap up next January.
Last month, Nepal’s opposing political groups reached the so-called Four-Point Agreement on completing the remaining tasks of the peace process by 14 January 2011. Shortly after, the Council voted to wind up the UN mission, known as UNMIN, on 15 January.
The Agreement also called for Maoist combatants to be brought under the Special Committee, set up to address the supervision, integration and rehabilitation of the former fighters.
In a press statement today, the Council underlined the importance of implementing a clear work plan from the Committee, including timelines, benchmarks and arrangements for managing any residual tasks following UNMIN’s termination.
Three months after Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal stepped down, the country is still being led by a caretaker Government, with 12 rounds of voting in the Legislature-Parliament failing to produce a new leader.
The 15-member body also “called on the caretaker Government and all political parties to redouble their efforts and continue to work together in the spirit of compromise to fulfil their commitments.”
B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Council last week that swift action to overcome Nepal’s political impasse is required in order for the country to meet the January deadline to wrap up its peace process.
In 2006, the Government and the Maoists signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), ending a decade-long civil war which claimed some 13,000 lives.
Despite some important steps having been taken, “no breakthrough has been achieved,” Mr. Pascoe, who visited Nepal earlier this month, said. “It is too early to conclude that the parties are on a course” that would see the Four-Point Agreement implemented by the January deadline.
UNMIN was set up in 2007 to help Nepal hold elections for the Constituent Assembly, monitor the arms and armies for both the Government and Maoist sides, provide technical assistance to the Election Commission, and assist in monitoring the ceasefire.
Intended to have a limited run, the mission was originally established with a one-year mandate, but its presence has been extended seven times at the request of the parties.
“There is no doubt that the 15 January deadline for UNMIN’s withdrawal has created a new sense of urgency among the parties, and more focused on thinking on how to end the prolonged stasis taking place,” the official, who may visit Nepal again in December, said.
“It is still possible for the parties to meet their targets in time but, as I stressed to all those I met during my visit, it will require translating this new-found sense of urgency into decision-making and concrete action,” he added. “The sooner these decisions are taken the better.”