UN ends Nepal peace mission

Shirish B Pradhan

Kathmandu, Jan 15 (PTI) As Nepal remained in apolitical deadlock, the UN today ended its peace mission inthe country removing a buffer between armed Maoist cadres andarmy.

The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN)established three and half years ago to monitor the country''spost conflict transition ended its peace mission as the waringpolitical parties claimed to have reached an agreement onmonitoring of the former armed Maoist cadres lodged in specialcamps overseen by the UN mission.

The blue flag of the UN was lowered at a function hereat Nayabaneshwor signalling the end of the UN mission''s peaceefforts.

The UNMIN closure makes the fate of the 19,000 Maoistcombatants confined in the cantonments uncertain as noagreement has so far been made between the Maoists and thegovernment regarding the future monitoring, and integrationand rehabilitation of the combatants.

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 decade long insurgency, that killed15,000 people, in 2006 after the restoration of democracythrough 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."

"There are, most immediately, outstanding issues inrelation to the future of the arms and armies," said KarinLandgren, chief of the UNMIN in her address during theclosure.

While this peace process has seen several stops andstarts during the past five years, it has never been derailed,she pointed out.

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

The UN peace mission officially came to an end at Saturdaymid-night.

However, a small mission liquidation team will remain,to complete administrative withdrawal matters, according toLandgren.

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