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India agrees to UN monitoring: Nepal Minister

India, a major player in Nepal, had earlier opposed any kind of external mediation in the country.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2006 22:32 IST

India has accepted a proposal for the United Nations' presence in Nepal as a monitoring agency, Deputy Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli Sharma said on Thursday.

India's reaction to the proposal for the UN monitoring was not negative, said Oli, also Nepal's Foreign Minister, on his return to the capital on Thursday after attending a ministerial meeting of the coordinating bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Putrajaya in Malaysia.

Oli, who met Anand Sharma, India's minister of state for external affairs, in Malaysia, told reporters upon his arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport that he had discussed Nepal's current situation with Sharma.

"His reaction to UN monitoring was not negative," Oli said.

However, the Nepali minister did not elaborate what the UN would be monitoring.

The new government headed by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala last month resumed peace talks with the Maoist rebels after almost three years.

At the first round of talks, both sides agreed on a 25-point code of conduct, which includes having national and international bodies monitor the ceasefire declared by both.

Since then, Pradip Gyawali, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation, who is part of the three-member government team of negotiators, had said both sides had agreed on asking the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Kathmandu to monitor any human rights violations during the truce.

The Maoists have offered to lay down arms under the supervision of the UN or any similar credible organisation when an election is held to choose between monarchy and a republic.

After the first round of talks, the government formed a team of 21 parliamentarians chaired by Speaker Subhash Nemwang to monitor the talks.

India, a major player in Nepal, had earlier opposed any kind of external mediation in the country. That is regarded as one of the reasons earlier governments had rejected repeated offers by UN secretary-general Kofi Annan to help with the peace talks.

However, the UN monitoring, which still falls short of mediation, might be acceptable to India especially in view of the UN's readiness to work in close consultation with New Delhi.

First Published: Jun 01, 2006 22:32 IST