The caretaker government in Nepal and Opposition Maoists are on a collision course over the role of United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), which is monitoring the country’s peace process.
While the government wants it to change its current mandate and monitor only the Maoist combatants and their arms, the Maoists want it to continue monitoring the Nepal Army as well.
There is another difference. The government wants UNMIN’s tenure which expires on September 15 to be extended by four months while the Maoists want it to remain for six months or till the peace process is complete.
A day after the government sent a letter to UN Security Council seeking an extension for UNMIN, the Maoists on Thursday shot a separate letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
In his letter Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal asked the SC not to change UNMIN’s mandate and extend its tenure by six months.
“The government’s letter seeking a four month extension for UNMIN is against the spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” Barsh Man Pun, in-charge of the Maoist combatants was quoted by local media.
Regarding worries about Nepal Army facing administrative, manpower and training problems due to monitoring by UNMIN, Dahal said his party is ready to find a “tactical solution” to the issue.
The British, US and French ambassadors to Nepal also had a meeting with Maoist leadership on Thursday to discuss the nature of UNMIN’s mandate.
India has already conveyed to caretaker Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal that any decision taken by the Nepal government on UNMIN’s role would be acceptable to the southern neighbour.
There is controversy over the role of the UN body, which has been monitoring the peace process and the Maoist combatants and Nepal Army since 2007, as most political parties believe it favours the Maoists.
The 15-member UN Security Council will soon take a decision on whether or not to extend UNMIN’s tenure and change its mandate.