Dr Mahat briefs UN envoy on insurgency, poll plan

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 18:

Samuel Tamrat, the visiting special envoy to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, held an hour-long meeting with State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat, here today. The state minister briefed Tamrat on the political scenario, government’s fresh initiative to negotiate with the Maoists and hold elections.

He was also briefed on the issue of repatriating Bhutanese refugees and the human rights situation. “The envoy is here to keep himself update with the developments in all areas that concerns the UN in Nepal. We briefed him on the current political situation, the ongoing initiative for peace process and refugees’ repatriation,” Dr Mahat told The Himalayan Times.

But the state minister didn’t divulge any details nor did he reveal the envoy’s response.

Dr Mahat refrained from saying whether Tamrat had offered UN help in holding a dialogue with the Maoists. He said the officials have now started discussing the options for refugees as the Bhutanese government is taking a long time to conduct repatriation process. Tamrat was also briefed on the matter. When asked if he discussed the UN’s intention of not taking Royal Nepalese Army men as peace-keeping troops in UN missions with Tamrat, Dr Mahat said, “As there is no issue as such there was no need to discuss it.” The UN is said to have sought the government’s clarification on cases of human rights violations in the hands of security forces by sending a report recently.

Or else, the report had stated, “The UN would not have Nepali soldiers in its peace-keeping missions.” Besides Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala, Tamrat is most likely to meet the Chief of Army Staff, General Pyar Jung Thapa, Inspector General of Nepal Police, Shyam Bhakta Thapa, National Human Rights Commission Chairman, Nayan Bahadur Khatri and other human rights activists, including Padma Ratna Tuladhar. Tamrat, in his visit last August, had met Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Deputy Prime Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari to know about government’s efforts in initiating the peace process. Tamrat was then convinced that a favourable environment for initiating the peace process was being created.