The top United Nations envoy to Nepal today lamented the fact that there has been limited progress in overcoming the political impasse that emerged in the country earlier this year, and little movement on the remaining tasks of the peace process.
Around 13,000 lives were lost during Nepal’s decade-long civil war, which came to an end in 2006 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government and Maoists.
Presenting Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report on the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), Karin Landgren told the Security Council that the peace process in recent months has “faced protracted deadlock, with the added risk of confrontation.”
Ms. Landgren, the Secretary-General’s Representative and head of UNMIN, reported that the impasse that emerged following the events of May – when the President revoked the Army Chief’s dismissal, and consequently the United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) stepped down from the Government – remains unresolved.
“Despite continuing efforts, the level of trust among the major parties has continued to dwindle,” she stated.
Mr. Ban, in his report, voiced concern that key commitments in the peace process have not been implemented, and that persistent mistrust among the parties and their “absorption in day-to-day politics and internal party issues” are impeding talks.
Ms. Landgren noted that while much of the past three months has offered “the semblance of calm” in the country, the past few days have seen low-level clashes between the Maoist-affiliated Yong Communist League and the Unified Maoist-Leninist Youth Force in some eastern districts.
“In the current climate, these protest actions carry a significant risk of confrontation and violence,” she said. “There is an urgent need to de-escalate the tensions and to find a framework for taking the peace process forward.”
She added that the mandate of UNMIN – originally designed for supporting the election of the Constituent Assembly, and due to expire in less than three months time – cannot go on indefinitely.
During the next 11 weeks, she said, the parties need to “arrest the loss of momentum, and invest goodwill, realism and rigour” in their pursuit of sustainable peace in Nepal.
“Until the parties establish a clearer framework for cooperation, and find ways of moving forward on major elements of the peace process, it is difficult to plot a structured exit for UNMIN.”
The Representative also said that, three years on, a review of the progress in the implementation of the major peace agreements may be overdue, and the principal parties should also be encouraged to take stock of the state of the peace process.
“The parties themselves have repeatedly underlined their continued commitment to this process, and their intention to see it through to a positive end,” she stated. “It would be tragic if the successes so far were permitted to unravel.”
Following closed-door discussions on Nepal, Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting of Austria, which holds the rotating Council presidency for this month, told reporters that the 15-member body “urged the Government of Nepal and all parties to work together in a spirit of compromise and in a forward-oriented manner to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and take the necessary decisions that will allow UNMIN to complete its tasks within its current mandate.”UN spokesperson Michele Montas, who was asked today about criticism made by some political parties in Nepal to the Secretary-General’s report, said that Mr. Ban’s observations are consistent with his repeated calls for unity and consensus among the political parties to ensure the success of the peace process.
“The report is intended to encourage Nepal’s political parties to achieve what they themselves have expressed about the desirability of a unity Government and does not in any way represent a form of interference,” she told reporters.