THT 10 years ago: Political scene has become more complex, Ban says in new report

Kathmandu, July 25, 2007

Though the peace process in Nepal appears on track, the national political scene has become more complex and challenging in recent months, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said in a new report.

“Renewed and expanded efforts will have to be made to sustain the successful trajectory of the peace process,” Ban said in his report on Nepal released in New York yesterday. Copies of the report were forwarded to the media by the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) in Kathmandu today.

Among recent challenges, Ban cited the postponement of the Constituent Assembly elections, which was originally scheduled for mid-June, but is now slated for November 22. Ban also warned that the failure to ensure a credible election within a realistic and well-planned period could have a serious impact on the unity of the country’s eight ruling parties and their ability to function in unison within the existing coalition.

A successful election is the “central element” of the country’s democratization process, the report said. “The stakes are too high,” Ban said, adding that “complacency or differences over secondary issues cannot be allowed to threaten or deny the people of Nepal the realisation of their ardent desire for sustainable peace.”

He also said that the UN Mission in Nepal — tasked with supporting the election — continues to advise that “much work needs to be done” if the election is to be held in November.

Govt-MJF talks make no headway

The second round of talks between the government and the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (MJF) could not make much progress today.

Both the sides, however, agreed to sit for another round of talks on Saturday. The talks held at the Dhulikhel Lodge Resort here reviewed the progress made in the implementation of agreements the two sides had reached in Janakpur on June 1.

The government and the MJF talks teams also agreed to overcome weaknesses in the implementation aspect of the June 1 agreements, according to a joint statement issued by government team coordinator and Minister for Peace and Reconstruction, Ram Chandra Poudel, and MJF leader Upendra Yadav. Yadav told media persons that the government had agreed in the Janakpur talks that it would provide medical treatment to those injured during the Tarai agitation, compensate families of those killed, accommodate people of Madhesi origin in all government offices and improve the law and order situation in the Tarai.

Emerging from today’s two-and-a-half-hour-long meeting, Yadav said they could not discuss at length the main agenda due to lack of time. It will be taken up in Saturday’s meeting, he said.