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UN plea to Maoists and Nepal government

world Updated: Sep 20, 2007 22:36 IST

The UN has urged the Nepal government and the Maoists to reach a political compromise in the broader interest of the landmark peace process, after the former rebels quit the ministry over differences on their demands for declaring the country a republic.

Both the government and the Maoists have renewed their commitment to the peace process in conversation with a top UN official, who underlined the need to press forward with the key Constituent Assembly elections as scheduled in November.

B Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, called up Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist Chairman Prachanda on behalf of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who "has been following the recent political developments in Nepal with concern," UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters here.

"Both leaders reiterated their commitment to the peace process, and also noted that eight-party discussions were continuing positively with the goal of overcoming the current difficulties in the near future," Montas said.

A comprehensive peace agreement was signed last November between Nepal's multi-party government and the Maoists, and the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) was established this January to support the peace process by helping to create conditions for the election to take place in a free and fair atmosphere.

The Maoists walked out of the government earlier this week and announced street protests after Koirala rejected their demand for declaring Nepal a republic immediately.

The crucial assembly polls are to be held on November 22 to form a body to re-write the country's Constitution and decide the fate of the 238-year old monarchy.