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UN team to help in Nepal's peace process

The UN decided to send the team following an agreement between the ruling Seven Party Alliance and Maoists to form an interim Govt.

india Updated: Nov 11, 2006 14:02 IST

A United Nations team of 200 plus members, comprising monitors and military experts, is to arrive in Nepal next week to aid the strife-torn country's peace process, Kantipur newspaper reported on Saturday.

The UN decided to send the team following an agreement between the ruling Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and Maoists to form an interim government within three weeks from signing the agreement, the Nepalese language daily said.

The peace accord was signed by the top leaders of all SPA parties and the Maoists early on Wednesday, ending 10 years of armed Maoist insurgency that cost almost 14,000 lives.

The newspaper quoted unnamed sources at the UN Special Representative's office in Nepal as saying that the UN move followed meetings between the government, the Maoists and Ian Martin, chief of the UN peace team in Nepal.

Under the agreement, a comprehensive peace pact is to be signed on November 16 and the verification process of the Maoist guerrilla fighters is to begin on November 21.

"The team that will arrive in Kathmandu will comprise military experts and monitors. The cost of the team will be borne by the countries to which they belong," the newspaper quoted sources as saying.

Representatives of European nations gathered in New York following a call by the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to assist in Nepal's peace process, sources said.

Both the Nepali government and the Maoists called on the UN in July to help in the peace process.

Kantipur quoted UN sources as saying that the UN team would be made up of 100 military monitors, 100 other experts, and a few military advisers.

The Maoists have said that they had 35,000 guerrilla fighters who would be housed in 28 different camps. The size of the UN team was reportedly based on these figures.

Martin said that a team of UN military monitors would visit Maoists camps in Surkhet and Rolpa districts in west Nepal, Kavrepalanchok and Sindhuli districts in central Nepal and Ilam district in eastern Nepal.

Martin asked the Maoists to set up their army camps near approachable roads.

A joint team of the government, the UN team and the Maoists was scheduled to visit Kavre and Sindhuli districts, near the capital, Saturday to make the first field inspection of the cantonment areas where the Maoist fighters would be confined under UN monitoring.

Under Wednesday's SPA-Maoist accord, an interim constitution would be promulgated by November 21, and an interim parliament formed by November 26 and an interim government including Maoists set up by December 1.

First Published: Nov 11, 2006 14:02 IST