Govt-Maoists ink key pact to monitor peace process after UNMIN

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Kathmandu, Jan 14 (PTI) The government and the mainOpposition Maoist party today inked a crucial eleventh-hourdeal to monitor Nepal''s fragile peace process after the UNmission tasked to supervise the arms and the army of theformer rebels and the military ends its task tonight.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and UCPN-Maoistchairman Prachanda inked a three-point deal to form a six-member team to monitor the arms and armies of both Maoist andthe government after the departure of UNMIN tomorrow.

The caretaker Prime Minister hailed the agreement asan important step in the peace process.

The Maoists supremo said they agreed on the post-UNMINsituation in the peace process and the monitoring of the armsand militaries of the government and the former rebels.

The former prime minister also expressed the hope thatthe peace process in future would be carried out on the basisof consensus.

The government and the Maoist also agreed to thankUNMIN for its support to the peace process and also ask to thehandover the equipment being used by UNMIN to monitor arms andarmies to the government, Home Minister Bhim Rawal was quotedas saying by myrepublica, the website of Republica newspaper.

The deadlock in Nepal''s peace process has sparkedconcern among the international community as the UnitedNations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), which has been tasked tomonitor the peace process since 2007, wraps up its mission onJanuary 15.

As part of the deal today, the government and theMaoists reaffirmed their commitment to abide by all pastagreements relating to peace process, including the managementof arms and armies.

The panel would carry out tasks related to the armsand army monitoring for which three members would be selectedfrom the special committee and another three from the specialcommittee secretariat, the report said.

It is seen as a significant breakthrough as theMaoists and government were putting forward varying proposalson the post UNMIN scenario.

The government wanted to entrust all the duties of theUNMIN to the special committee secretariat led by BalanandaSharma, former Nepal Army General. However, the Maoist was infavour of an extension of the UNMIN''s tenure even if only in alimited capacity.

Nepal has been without a government since June 30,when Prime minister Nepal stood down under intense pressurefrom the Maoists. Parliament has failed to elect a primeminister even in 16 rounds of election as parties.

Nepali Congress, the second largest party, formallydecided to withdraw R C Poudyal, the sole candidate amidintense pressure from its key coalition partner CPN-UML, mainopposition UCPN (Maoist) and from within the party in a bid tobuild a consensus to end the deadlock that has derailed the2006 peace process.

The political crisis has been hugely damaging forNepal, which is still reeling from its decade of civil war, inwhich more than 16,000 people were killed. The standoff hasdelayed the drafting of a new constitution and conclusion ofthe peace process. PTI

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