With less than six weeks remaining for its mission in Nepal to leave the country, United Nations feels that the fragile peace process in the Himalayan nation is at a critical phase.
The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) is scheduled to exit Nepal on January 15 next year but key issues related to integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants are yet to be addressed.
"Peace process in Nepal is moving into a critical period…it is important that a political agreement on integration and rehabilitation of Maoist army is reached soon," said UN Under-Secretary General B. Lynn Pascoe.
Pascoe who concluded his two-day trip to Nepal on Saturday had a series of meeting with all parties involved in the peace process and stressed on the need to complete it within the remaining period.
He, however, maintained that despite UNMIN’s exit, UN would continue to be engaged with political developments in Nepal for the next three years to make sure that the peace process reaches a logical conclusion.
Set up in 2007 after the end of the Maoist insurgency, UNMIN monitors nearly 19,000 former rebels living in cantonments as well as the Nepal Army as part of the peace deal.
In September this year, the UN Security Council gave it a final extension of four months to monitor rehabilitation and integration of the Maoist combatants.
The two key issues are the reasons why the peace process is stuck. Maoists want most of their colleagues to get integrated into the security forces—something which other parties oppose.
The government has set up a special committee that would monitor the combatants and oversee their rehabilitation and integration after UNMIN's exit.