Withdraw weapons from Maoists: Koirala tells UN

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Kathmandu, Nov 3 (UNI) Former prime minister and Nepali Congress (NC) President Girija Prasad Koirala has requested visiting U N Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to direct the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) to withdraw all weapons it had earlier allowed top Maoist leaders to keep for their personal security.

''I asked Mr Ban to ensure that Maoists either hand over the weapons to the government or keep them in cantonment containers as the Maoists themselves are heading the government now,'' the Kantipur quoted Mr Koirala as saying at a programme in here today.

''Why the weapons and personal body guards for Maoists? Now that all security forces are under them.'' Mr Koirala had met the UN Secretary General here on Satuday and had expresed dissatisfaction over the role of UNMIN in the Himalayan Republic. The issue of Maoists weapon has become controversial after they entered the Constituent Assembly venue with weapons a few weeks ago.

According to the Agreement on Monitoring of Management of Arms and Armies reached between the then government and Maoists on November 28, 2006, UNMIN had allowed Maoists to keep altogether 72 arms outside containers for personal security of their top leaders.

UNMIN maintains that it is the government, not UNMIN, which is authorised to decide whether to allow Maoists to continue keeping their personal weapons.

Mr Koirala said he urged Mr Ban to take into consideration ''Nepal's political context, political situation and political nuances'' which had seen huge changes after the Constituent Assembly election.

''I told him that people are closely observing what the U N is doing. People's faith in the U N will diminish if it makes any mistakes,'' he said.

''The U N should keep its eyes and ears open to these conditions.

What kind of impression will people have when arms that bear U N tags are taken inside parliament?'' UMI XC ARB HS1551

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