Now that the peace process has started (the code of conduct is already out), people are talking about its successful completion. The possible role of the United Nations is being discussed at full length. The Nepal government and the Maoist party have agreed in principle to invite the UN for monitoring the peace process. Also there is the talk of the role of India in the process. The Indian role, unfortunately, comes along with the role of UN. Journalist Tilak Pokharel reports in today’s Kathmandu Post:
The government will “soon” send a formal letter to the United Nations inviting it to play a role in the peace process, following an agreement with the Maoists and India’s green signal on UN involvement in Nepal.
According to a highly placed source, the government, the Maoists and India have agreed on two key areas for UN involvement, but some differences remain in a third area.
The three areas for UN involvement are:
1) Cease-fire monitoring
2) Assisting in decommissioning of Maoist arms and demobilization of the Maoist militia prior to constituent assembly (CA) elections, and
3) “Witnessing” of the ongoing government-Maoist talks through the UN’s physical presence.
Pankaj Saran, senior official at the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, arrived Kathmandu on Sunday to take stock of the peace process. So he will be deciding if the UN should be present in the talks or not! It is indeed very unfortunate and humiliating to see India meddling over the internal issues of Nepal. But then considering the fact that Prachanda himself is in New Delhi and running his operation from there makes this humiliation redundant. After all, many admit, the whole Maoist movement is a spectacular show of Indian Intelligence. It won’t be a remark of exaggeration, therefore, to say that India is running the show of peace process as well. Tilak Pokharel quotes his sources as saying that the government is hopeful that India will agree on the third point as well. “The government is eagerly waiting for India’s green signal on this.” We will know what Pankaj Saran signals before departing to his home country today.
It is a fact that India wants to oversee the whole peace process under the cover of UN and it seems the Maoists are fine with that. But isn’t it amazing that after agreeing on the second point, India is unwilling to give “green signal” for the third? Isn’t the second point supposed to be more sensitive than the third one?
Nepal needs money at this stage as it is going through the fragile recovery scenario which includes the sensitive process of peace and reconstruction. Plus, the Maoist army needs to be fed which will also need huge sum of money. And there are other friendly nations who are also ready to help in the peace process via various means. One of them is Denmark whose ambassador to Nepal Finn Thilsted said on Monday that his government is ready to financially support the UN for the latter’s role in the peace process.
“I understand the (Nepal) government wants the UN to do the monitoring,” the Post quotes him as saying in a press meet in Kathmandu yesterday. “In that case, UN would need money. We can support them with money.” The ambassador said that his government was ready to provide Rs. 2 billion to Nepal in addition to the regular bilateral assistance of Rs. 1.88 billion.