Major parties divided over UNMIN’S role, term

Kathmandu, November 13:

At a time when internal politics is deadlocked and the government is yet to announce a fresh date for constituent assembly election, the major parties seem to be divided over the role of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) and the issue of its term extension.

Giving an expanded role for UNMIN could “raise the concern of immediate neighbours”. While the Mao-ists preferred to “remain quiet” on UNMIN’s extension, political analyst Dr Lok Raj Baral said Nepal’s neighbours, including India, “mi-ght not be very happy” if UNMIN sought an expanded role here when a new date for the CA election is yet to be announced.

Dr Baral said he preferred giving “defined activities” to UNMIN if its term is extended after January 22, 2008. Referring to some UNMIN members “meeting with some members of the armed factions of the Tarai in Indian territory” recently, he said such meetings will have “negative implications.”

The priority, Dr Baral suggested, should be put on management of the arms. This is where the “signatory parties are not sincere.”

Nepali Congress (NC) central committee member Laxman Ghimire suggested that UNMIN needs to “prioritise its mandate”, including arms management, rather than involving in other issues. “When one is involved in a job, it must bring it to a logical end,” he said.

While the government is considering a six-month extension of UNMIN, Maoist leader Dinanath Sharma refused to review the UNMIN’s nine-month term here and said that the issue of extension is still “under discussion” and his party would not make any comment on UNMIN now.

CPN-UML standing committee member Jhala Nath Khanal, however, said UNMIN must not be sent back unless the peace process comes to a logical end. “We have to be practical since we have involved the United Nations in our peace process in a special circumstance,” Khanal added.

He was of the view that it is the political parties, which have failed to keep their pace with the time and situation. “UNMIN is doing well here and its term should be extended,” he said.

UNMIN is in Nepal since January 22, 2007, after the government and Maoists invited it to facilitate peace process.