UN ends Nepal peace mission amid fears of chaos

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Shirish B Pradhan

Kathmandu, Jan 15 (PTI) Amid fears of chaos in Nepal,the UN today ended its peace mission as the government and themain Opposition Maoists inked a crucial eleventh-hour deal tomonitor the arms and the army of the former rebels and themilitary.

As Nepal remained in a political deadlock, the UN''sblue flag was lowered at the Kathmandu office of the UNMIN,which was established by the world body as a special politicalmission in 2007 to manage the arms and armed personnel of theMaoists and the Nepal Army.

The UNMIN closure makes the fate of the 19,000 Maoistcombatants confined in the cantonments uncertain as there wasno clear roadmap regarding the future monitoring, integrationand rehabilitation of the former PLA combatants.

The waring political parties claimed to have reachedan agreement on monitoring of the former armed Maoist cadreslodged in special camps overseen by the UN mission.

The government said a Special Committee comprisingrepresentatives from the main political parties will monitorthe ex-guerrillas, which the Maoists do not agree till today.

The Maoists ended a decade-long insurgency, thatkilled 15,000 people, in 2006 after the restoration ofdemocracy through peoples'' movement.

Issuing a message at the closure of the UN Mission inNepal, UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon expressed regret overthe "insufficient progress made" made so far in the peaceprocess and encourages the parties "to redouble their effortsto build the confidence that can bring progress on all frontsof Nepal''s peace process."

UNMIN chief Karin Landgren said "there are, mostimmediately, outstanding issues in relation to the future ofthe arms and armies".

While this peace process has seen several stops andstarts during the past five years, it has never been derailed,she pointed out in her address during the closure ceremony inthe capital.

There were some 270 UN staff for the monitoring of theMaoists'' arms and the combatants at the time of the closure.

A small mission liquidation team will remain, to completeadministrative withdrawal matters, according to Landgren.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and UCPN-Maoistchairman Prachanda inked a three-point deal yesterday to forma six-member team to monitor the arms and armies of bothMaoist and the government.

The Maoists, who joined mainstream politics after adecade-long insurgency in 2006, has accused the mainstreamparties of trying to isolate the former rebels so that theyare deprived of leading another coalition.

The country has been in political limbo since the June30 resignation of Prime Minister Nepal. Despite 16 rounds ofpolls, the parliament has been unable to elect a new leader,stalling the 2006 peace process in the country.

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