Nepal panel begins monitoring peace process as UNMIN wraps up

Shirish B. Pradhan

Kathmandu, Jan 16 (PTI) A special panel of securityforces and Maoist combatants was deployed today in differentparts of the country to monitor the arms and army of theformer rebels and the military as the UN wrapped up its peacemission in Nepal.

The Special Committee deployed a joint team of64-monitors -- comprising security forces and Maoist PLAcombatants -- in the seven main Maoist cantonments and theKathmandu-based arms container of the Nepali Army.

Eight monitors, two each from Nepal Army, Armed PoliceForce, Nepal Police and the Maoist PLA, have been deployed atthe PLA cantonments and Nepal Army arms container.

The monitors took up the task of monitoring arms andarmies from yesterday.

The government and the main Opposition Maoists onFriday reached an agreement on monitoring of the former armedMaoist cadres lodged in special camps overseen by the UNmission.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and UCPN-M ChairmanPrachanda agreed to hand over all monitoring functions -- thearms and the army of the former rebels and the military --shouldered by UNMIN to the Special Committee.

The international community, including the keyfinancial donor nations, praised a last minute deal betweengovernment and the main opposition Maoists, but expressedconcern over the stalled peace process.

Thirteen heads of diplomatic missions in Nepal,including ambassadors of UK and USA, welcomed the signing of athree-point agreement between government and the UCPN-Maoiston monitoring of peace process.

As the UN peace mission ended its mandate, the topambassadors expressed concern over the slow progress in thepeace process. They asked the political parties fulfill theirresponsibilities in the near future.

Issuing a joint statement, the foreign envoysexpressed the hope that the Army Integration Special Committee(AISC) formed by the government, with the representatives frommajor political parties, will assume the monitoringresponsibilities from UNMIN.

"As UNMIN prepares to exit on January 16, we expressour appreciation and thanks to the Representative of theSecretary General Karin Landgren and her team for theirefforts," said the statement on behalf of Australia, Canada,Denmark, EU, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands,Norway, Switzerland, UK and USA.

Karin Landgren, the outgoing special envoy of theSecretary-General, also welcomed the agreement to continue themonitoring of arms and armies after UNMIN�s exit.

"I hope the parties will build on this to implementthe long-awaited integration and rehabilitation of the Maoistarmy personnel," she said.

Amid fears of chaos in Nepal, President Ram BaranYadav has asked the deadlocked political parties to form a newgovernment based on consensus. He asked the parties to elect aPrime Minister before January 21 and form a new government onthe basis of national consensus.

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