Kathmandu, June 18 :

The Swiss Special Adviser for peace building in Nepal, Gunther Baechler, today said the eight-point peace pact between the government and the Maoists was a breakthrough in peace and constitution building process.

“Individual leaders of both sides have shown a remarkable political will to settle the conflict peacefully, which indicates that the peace process is going to be successful,” Baechler told a press conference.

Comparing Nepal’s case with other conflict-hit countries, he said: “Parties to the conflict had to be forced to the talks table, to be guided through the process with help of a mediator. Not so in Nepal where both sides came on their own and that makes a huge difference.” “If conviction prevails that only peace can lead to a democratic and prosperous society, then negotiations are easier, positions can be adapted and real problem solving comes to the forefront.” Stating that peace agreements can be signed in one day, while building peace takes years, he said: “What counts is the process and the implementation of the political will, for the interim government there will be three major tests — arms management, elections to a constituent assembly and to reflect the will of the people.”

He also suggested setting up mechanisms for dialogue, peace and reconcilation at the local level. “Demilitarisation has to start from the top as well as the village level,” said Baechler.

He further stressed a clear “verification” process, which eventualy will lead to disarmament and demobilisation.

He said the Swiss Development Cooperation and Switzerland will provide technical expertise, institutional support and financial aid to Nepal.

He said Deputy Prime Minister KP Oli will meet the Swiss foreign minister, Micheline Calmy Rey, tomorrow, adding Switzerland will vote for Nepal in its bid to have a non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for next year.