Tamrat balks at stating UN role in arms mgt

Kathmandu, May 7:

Visiting senior UN official, Samuel Tamrat today said it would be too early to discuss a possible UN role in either arms management or ceasefire monitoring in Nepal.

“It is too early to say at this point of time (about the UN assisting Nepal in arms management),” said Tamrat, adding that the international body would assist in

whatever way the government of Nepal wants.

“The details have to be looked into at the right moment,” he said after meeting Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, KP Oli. Tamrat said he brought a special message from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that the UN stands ready to “support the efforts of the Nepali people to find peace and stability.” Asked about UN assessment of the Maoists’ intention and sincerity in entering mainstream politics, Tamrat official said: “I cannot comment on that as I have not met them. That is something they themselves will have to say.”

Tamrat, who is also special advisor to the Undersecretary-General of UN, said he discussed the present and future challenges of Nepal and the feasible UN assistance in general terms with the minister. Tamrat said he was happy that Nepal has reached some consensus over resolving problems.

The visit, which was billed a “routine consultation visit” is taking place at a crucial time when the issue of taking UN’s assistance in arms management and ceasefire monitoring is being discussed within the country as the Maoists and the seven-party-alliance have reached an understanding.

Deputy PM Oli said the UN representative had assured him that the international body was ready to provide any support for the peace process in Nepal, if so requested. He, however, ruled out UN mediation for now since it has not been mentioned in either the six-point pact among the parties nor in the 12-point understanding between the seven-party alliance and Maoists.

Asked if he discussed the agreement reached between the seven-party alliance and the Maoists regarding UN monitoring of the Royal Nepalese Army and the Maoist militants during ceasefire, Oli said: “It is at the same juncture. It has not been decided how to take the process ahead.”

Tamrat also met CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal and discussed the current political scenario. Officiating foreign secretary Pradeep Khatiwada, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of UNDP Matthew Kahane, and chief of the Kathmandu mission of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Ian Martin were also present when Tamrat met the foreign minister.

Meanwhile, after meeting Tamrat UML general secretary Nepal ruled out UN mediation during the talks between the government and the Maoists. He, however, said that the UN’s role would be indispensable in terms of arms managment and settling other military issues