Feels Tuesday’s historic pact addresses its concerns
By Phanindra Dahal
The Nepal Army (NA) has expressed its readiness to fully support the landmark deal signed by parties on Tuesday night on concluding the peace process, stating that its concerns have been addressed in the agreement that will see former Maoist combatants integrated into its ranks.
Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal and Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha leader Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar signed the deal expressing commitment to setting up a general directorate under the NA to integrate up to 6,500 Maoist fighters. The general directorate, according to the deal, will be deployed for infrastructure development, rescue and relief operations as well as forest and industrial security.
“We feel fortunate that the parties forged an agreement on integration modality that we had suggested,” said a two-star general, commenting on Tuesday’s seven-point agreement. “We are ready to extend our full support to the implementation of this decision.” Continue reading
Leaders agree on number of Maoist guerillas to be integrated
KATHMANDU, NOV 01 – The peace process that was started five years ago in 2006 is likely to witness its logical conclusion. The meeting of the top brass leaders of the major political parties—Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, UCPN (Maoist) and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha—on Tuesday agreed on contentious issues of the peace process.
UML leader Bhim Rawal announced the deal amid a press conference organised at the PM’s residence.
The leaders have agreed to integrate 6,500 former Maoist combatants into the Nepal Army in an individual basis, Rawal informed. Likewise, the rehabilitation package has been agreed upon Rs. 600,000 to Rs. 900,000 as per the rank of the combatants.
Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, NC President Sushil Koirala, UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal and Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar as SLMM’s representative signed on the “peace deal” at Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s official residence in Baluwatar.
Meanwhile, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal held a talk with his deputy Mohan Baidya—leader of the party’s hardliner faction—so as to take him into confidence.
The background: how they bargained
A group of pro-Baidya Maoist cadres protesting in Kathmandu
Prachanda, Baidya men clash in Kavre. Is the Maoist party on the verge of split? If yes, when?
The intra-party rift in the UCPN (M) has widened further with the faction led by Senior Vice Chairman Mohan Baidya on Friday (today) announcing a nationwide campaign against the party decision to hand over the keys of arms containers to the Special Committee. Defying calls by the party leadership, the Baidya faction decided to launch a “national awareness campaign” starting Saturday (tomorrow). Leaders from the faction told Republica newspaper that they would paint walls and hold corner meetings to protest the party establishment´s decision to hand over the keys of the arms containers to the Special Committee. Baidya and General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa on Friday (today) evening issued a statement demanding that the party chairman and the government scrap the decision.
FIVE Fundamentals of Nepali Peace Process, according to Ian Martin:
The first fundamental is the commitment to power-sharing and consensus. The second fundamental is the commitment of the Maoists to the transformation of their movement, to conform to democratic multi-party norms and to respect the rule of law. The third, the commitment to transformation in the security sector: to the “integration and rehabilitation” of former Maoist combatants, and to an action plan for “democratisation” of the Nepali Army. The fourth, the commitment to political, economic and social transformation, where the Comprehensive Peace Agreement set out a radical and ambitious agenda. The fifth and last fundamental is the commitment to address the needs of victims of the conflict, and to build the rule of law by ending impunity.
By Ian Martin
[Martin is former Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal for the United Nations Mission in Nepal]
In recent days there have been calls for the revision of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, accusations and counter-accusations that it is being broken by Maoist agitation or threats of mobilisation of the Army, and calling into question even of the 12-point Understanding which was the very foundation of the peace process. It is thus timely to ask whether the peace process is failing; if so, why; and what is required to save it.
I no longer speak for the UN on Nepal, and I want to make very clear that I am speaking only for myself. I do so solely as a friend of Nepal, and as someone who deeply wants to see Nepal go forward in peace, respect for human rights, and socio-economic progress for all its diverse peoples.
I want to try to address what I regard as the larger underlying issues of the peace process in Nepal, which I believe is the way to address the question of what needs to be done to get it back on track.
Five aspects of the peace agreements have been unchanging and are fundamental, and it is the extent to which they have been respected or not respected which I want to examine this evening. Continue reading
The Constituent Assembly has faced repeated delays in drafting the new constitution. The delays have led to growing public speculation and concern that the May 2010 promulgation deadline will not be met.
Report of the UN Secretary-General on the request of Nepal for United Nations assistance in support of its peace process
1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1879 (2009), by which the Council, following the request of the Government of Nepal and the recommendation of the Secretary-General, renewed the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) until 23 January 2010. UNMIN was established as a special political mission in 2007, with a mandate which included monitoring of the management of arms and armed personnel of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) and the Nepal Army. Following its merger with the Communist Party of Nepal-Unity Centre (Masal) on 13 January 2009, CPN-M was renamed the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M). Continue reading
It’s not so important to ask why the Maoists are sacking the Army Chief as it is to ask why the other parties are apposing this so strongly. Three reasons:
By Neil Horning
In a democracy, the Army should not be a center of power in the slightest. It is supposed to carry out the will of the elected government within the confines of the constitution. To illustrate, when Obama was elected, it was considered a novelty when he did not replace the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Thus, in assessing this development, I feel it’s not so important to ask why the Maoists are sacking the Army Chief as it is to ask why the other parties are apposing this so strongly.
There a couple of reasons why this could be so. In increasing importance:
1. The Army Chief has important friends in elite circles
Even in the US it’s common to say, “it’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” This could not be truer in Nepal. While the country has gone through tremulous upheaval recently, nepotism, corruption, and crony-ism have hardly abated. While the Nepali Congress and The UML formally apposed the Palace, their upper crust, mostly Brahmin-Chetri members ran in the same social circles with royals and royalists, dined with them, attended the same wedding receptions, ran the same civic organizations, served on the same boards, etc. All in this elite class share the goal of, to one degree or another, preserving the power of their own class-caste. These are social contacts that nearly all Maoist members severed while going underground, if they existed to begin with, and they hardly have had time to return. The Army Chief Surely has many friends within the CPN UML and NC, if not relatives (which trump all), and many favors to call in. Continue reading
Ian Martin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal, addressed reporters at Reporters’ Club in Kathmandu today. Here is the Q and A, as provided by United Nations Mission in Nepal. Here is Ian’s last briefing to UNSC.
Rishi [Dhamala, the Chair of the Club], Thank you very much indeed for inviting me to come to the Reporters’ Club for one final time before I leave my present responsibilities. I want to thank you and the Reporters’ Club for the consistent interest that you have shown in the work of OHCHR and then in the work of UNMIN during my responsibilities for each of those. When I came to open the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in May 2005, defending freedom of expression, freedom of media was one of our priorities. And, as the terrible murder of Uma Singh reminds us, and many other threats to journalists, it’s still an extremely relevant agenda today, and OHCHR and many other colleagues in the United Nations will go on defending freedom of expression and freedom of media.
When people ask me if I am worried that Nepal may see a drift to some kind of authoritarianism, my answer is that the democratic spirit in Nepal is now too strongly alive for that to be a possibility even if some people wanted it. And, I have had the privilege to be in Nepal during Jana Andolan in 2006, and during the Constituent Assembly election, and I have no doubt that people of Nepal who had their say, who demanded peace and change on both those two occasions will insist that Nepal maintains a democratic country in which they have full freedom of expression. Continue reading
Ian Martin, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Nepal speaks at the Meeting of the Security Council on 16 January 2009
The request of Nepal for United Nations assistance in support of its peace process
This is the tenth and last time I am briefing the Council on the assistance of the United Nations in support of Nepal’s peace process, and in particular the work of UNMIN. Although neither the peace process nor the Government’s desire for the support of UNMIN has come to a conclusion, it is an appropriate moment not only to consider developments since the last briefing in November, but also to reflect on the achievements and remaining challenges in sustaining peace in Nepal. Continue reading
The UN Secretary-General will visit Nepal latter this month, is spokesperson said Thursday. While in Nepal, the Secretary-General will meet with the President, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and members of the Constituent Assembly. The Secretary-General will also visit Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the spokesperson said.
Ian Martin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal, held a press conference at the Reporter’s Club, Kathmandu today. Here is the transcript as provided by the UNMIN. (Note: the questions in some cases are summarised)
Ram Kumar Kamat, The Himalayan Times: I read in today’s newspaper that Girija Prasad Koirala asked you that if Maoist army is integrated into Nepal Army, it will tarnish its image internationally. Apparently you agreed to this when he asked you. Do you want to say anything on that?
Ian Martin: First, let me say that neither I nor UNMIN have ever been an advocate for or against integration. We have never taken a position on this issue. We have always made clear that like other aspects of the peace process, this is for Nepalis to decide and the political actors reached agreements as to the process by which they would decide it. And that’s the special committee that I have referred to and that’s the place where the discussion about integration and re-integration has to take place. And if the United Nations is asked to make international experience available to the special committee then we will be happy to do so, but not with any United Nations proposal or any United Nations model to offer from elsewhere. Continue reading
Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal at a press conference at the Reporter’s Club, Kathmandu today. The following is the transcript provided by his office:
Introduction (in Nepali) by Rishi Dhamala, President of the Reporters’ Club.
Ian Martin: Thank you, Rishi. I could not understand your introduction, but you are usually over generous. And thank you for persisting in asking me to come again to the Reporters’ Club. I am sorry I wasn’t able to do so before I went to New York, but this is my first opportunity after returning from New York.
I briefed the Security Council in New York last Thursday. You will, I hope, have seen the report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council in which we described the holding and the outcome of the Constituent Assembly election. But my emphasis when I briefed the Council last week was not so much on the achievement of the Constituent Assembly election, which the Security Council warmly welcomed, but on the very considerable challenges that still lie ahead for Nepal. Of course, those challenges include the negotiations that are going on right now to try to find a basis for forming a new government. But there are much more profound challenges ahead for the newly elected Constituent Assembly when it begins meeting tomorrow. Continue reading