Prachanda plumps for UNMIN’s extended stay

Kathmandu, December 12:

Chief of United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) Ian Martin today met Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and discussed the possible extension of UNMIN’s tenure.

Prime Minister Dahal assured Martin that he would soon send a letter to the UN Security Council requesting for the extension of UNMIN’s tenure, according to Om Sharma, press advisor to the PM.

The PM is likely to request the world body to extend UNMIN’s term by another six months. The current tenure of the UNMIN expires on January 22.

The PM also informed Martin that he would soon give a full shape to the Special Committee mandated to settle the army integration issue.

The special committee has not been able to function, as the main opposition Nepali Congress has refused to send its representative on the committee. The NC is at loggerheads with the Maoist-led government over the issue of equal representation on the panel. The NC has been demanding two seats on the panel.

Martin wanted to know government’s progress in taking all the stakeholders into confidence to give the Special Committee a full shape, according to Sharma.

Also today, Martin met with the NC acting president Sushil Koirala and leader Dr Ram Sharan Mahat at the NC headquarters at Sanepa.

Martin made it clear that the UNMIN had not said anywhere that the Maoist combatants had met the criteria of soldiers, claimed Dr. Mahat. “We have only mentioned about their age and involvement in Maoist insurgency in one way or the other,” Dr Mahat quoted Martin as saying.

According to Mahat, UNMIN chief realised that the representation of the NC in the Special Committee was necessary in order to bring the peace process to a logical conclusion.

The NC leaders told Martin that the Maoists were not abiding by the peace pacts and the

PM’s recent circulars were not in compliance with the peace pacts. The NC leaders urged Martin to make cantonment monitoring effective.

“Our mandate is limited,” Dr Mahat quoted Martin as saying. According to Dr Mahat, Martin said that it was for the national stakeholders to decide about the issue of army integration.

The NC leaders drew the attention of UNMIN towards ‘continuous violation of right to life and property’.