Until everything is agreed

Lack of trust between the SPA coalition and the Maoists is the main reason why the peace process has not picked up the desired momentum despite the fact that the contestants do realise the historic indispensability of using the present opportunity to clin-ch an enduring peace for Nepal. It is sad that valuable time is being wasted on ‘aggressive rhetoric’ and ‘pro-vocative demonstrations,’ laments Pauli Mustonen, Representative of EU presidency. Also, the continuing wave of forced donations and abductions is preventing the creation of trust.

The 25-member EU is firm in its belief that the Constituent Assembly (CA) poll is the bottom line but in order for it to be credible, it has to be free and fair. The issue of arms management is, therefore, a matter of critical importance to the peace and stability in Nepal. Sources say the UN is keen on charting a roadmap to effective management of arms paving the path for a trouble-free CA poll through which a lasting peace could be secured for Nepal. The world body, however, is still quite a distance away from making a headway that it wants opened, thanks to divergent postulations of the main actors in the arena.

The EU is not yet ready to revise its strong stand agai-nst the politics of terror.

Much as it recognises Nepal’s current reality and the fluidity of the situation, it asks the rebels to understand that the EU won’t consider them a legitimate political force unless they renounce violence and, credibly and concretely commit to put their weapons permanently beyond use. But unlike US, EU doesn’t make the induction of the Maoists into interim govt. contingent upon immediate decommissioning of arms.

Arms management has to be done but it could also be done on a step-by-step basis, suggests Mustonen, adding nonetheless that the ‘steps’ should focus mainly on building trust between the SPA coalition and the rebels within a definite, sequential timeframe. This is to preclude the old habit of defining goals without identifying the methods of achieving them. The important point is the government and the Maoists would have to enter into a ‘process agreement’ with schedule that would be followed by both the sides as a matter of obligation. “ If the government and Maoists can agree on the modalities and the UN confirms that it can be monitored, we can support that,” asserts Mustonen. However, the Maoi-sts suspecting SPA of ‘hatching conspiracy’ and the latter suspecting the former of ‘insincerity all along’ has not at all been so productive. This mist of misconception has to be cleared.

The EU reckons the political clime is still tense, not as good as it was a few months ago but it is supportive of the twin imperatives of sustainable development and sovereign independence of Nepal. If the diplomats in Kathmandu have acquired the impression of the government as being weak, they are equally unsure if the Maoists too are honestly interested in peace-making. The current critical stage is fraught with all sorts of negative possibilities. No less disturbing is the silence of the Kamidanda conclave over the 5-point invite of the Maoists to UN secretary-general Kofi Annan dated Aug. 9. Well, as a cynic wou-ld insist, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.