By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal
“One doesn’t reach an agreement talking publicly or via media but in private and listening to each other.”
“First we will provide advice on how do you write a ceasefire agreement.”
Matthew Kahane the United Nations Resident Representative and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nepal
At a time when the country is uneasily moving towards the peace process by trying to hold second phase of talks, Matthew Kahane, the United Nations Resident Representative and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nepal, has said that the current ceasefire agreement (code of conduct) between the Nepal government and the Maoist party is too general and needs to include many specific provisions. “It doesn’t talk about the number of armies on both sides, who are commanding the armies, where are the soldiers kept, is their uniform identifiable or not, who are actually in the armies etc. These issues haven’t been mentioned.”
Matthew Kahane said that the agreement should be detailed in such an extent that it should talk about the numbers of guns, tagging those guns with numbers, keeping them inside an alarm enabled armor with as much as three keys- “two of them will be with the two sides and one will be with us”. “Preparing such an agreement takes time,” Kahane said. “Because it is a detailed process.” He also said that disarmament is different than that of arms monitoring. “That is a subsequent process which could be done in second phase.”
Kahane stated that two sides should agree on a joint commission where both are represented and that commission should jointly monitor the ceasefire agreement. He was addressing a group of journalists in a face-to-face program organized by Everest Media Club, Subidhanigar, Kathmandu.
Kahane also mentioned that different people were expressing different views regarding the possible UN involvement in the Nepalese peace process. Stating that verities of terminologies like disarmament, arms monitoring, decommissioning, demobilizing were being used in association with the UN’s role, Kahane stressed on the need to be specific regarding the same. “We should be accurate on words and details,” he said.
If both sides want UN involvement in the peace process, Kahane said, the world body would be very willing to provide assistance. “First we will provide advice on how do you write a ceasefire agreement,” he said. “Technical terms should be mentioned. We can’t just go monitor the arms. Which arms to monitor?”
Matthew Kahane also said that his office was waiting for the Nepal government’s official and written request for UN involvement. “We need the Nepal government’s letter as they are the member of the UN,” he said. “But we think that the government should write to us in such a way that the Maoists will also agree on that request.”
Lauding the 12-point agreement reached between the Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists as a much more detailed as compared to those agreed upon previously, Kahane said that the talks should be held in private environment for effective outcomes. “One doesn’t reach an agreement talking publicly or via media but in private and listening to each other. Real talks have to be held in private and I believe the same has been happening in recent weeks. That is essential.”
Citing an example of how the American government treated individual soldiers who fought in the the Vietnam War after the war was over, Kahane said that any solution of the problem should make the fighters feel that their role in the war was right. “Everybody’s role should be understood and respected,” he said. Kahane also added that the issues of human rights violations shouldn’t be left untouched.
He also said that updating the voters’ list would be the biggest technical problem for Constituent Assembly election. “Many people have grown up since the list was updated last time and many haven’t got citizenship certificate. Several million such people will have to be added in the list.”
Kahane also said that the UN had nothing to do with Indian role in Nepali peace process. What if India doesn’t agree on UN involvement in Nepali peace process but UN feels its need to get involved? “Some countries consult with their neighbors and only a few go independently,” he said.
UPDATES on the PEACE PROCESS:
Army’s recruitment tests to go ahead
BY BIKASH SANGRAULA
The Kathmandu Post
KATHMANDU, June 13 – The Nepali Army (NA) is going ahead with pre-scheduled tests for 100 officer level vacancies that are taking place at Chhaunni barracks on Tuesday. Applicants, who were notified on June 3 to present themselves at the barracks on Tuesday for the tests, have not been informed by the NA as of Monday about any changes in the schedule. The tests are taking place against the background of the code of conduct signed between the government and the rebels that bars both sides from further recruitment. Clause 3 of the code says, “…both sides will stop taking new recruits…”
Applicants are making final preparations for the tests. “There has been no notice about rescheduling or cancellation of the test,” said a source who is among some 2,000 applicants competing for 100 posts of second lieutenant. The army cancelled the tests for rank and file vacancies after the code of conduct was signed but continued with the recruitment process for officers. Interestingly, the recruitment process continues despite a written notice from the Defense Ministry to the NA to stop all recruitment. Defense Secretary Bishnu Dutta Uprety said that the ministry sent a notice to the NA asking it to stop recruitment. “We have asked the army in writing to stop recruitment,” Uprety said. (continue reading)
Govt drops TADO cases
Over 350 Maoist detainees to be freed
KATHMANDU, June 12 – The cabinet Sunday revoked all the cases filed against Maoist leaders and cadres, including those against Prachanda, under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Control and Punishment) Act/Ordinance in different courts, ahead of the impending second round of peace talks with Maoists.
Besides, the cabinet also decided to drop ongoing investigations into terrorism-related crimes involving the Maoist rank and file, if any.
Over 350 Maoists, including senior Maoist leaders Prachanda, Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai and most Maoist central leaders, are facing cases in different courts under the anti-terrorism law, known as TADA/TADO.
There are 43 cases filed under the anti-terrorism law, including those against Prachanda and Dr Bhattarai in Patan Appellate Court alone. The court allowed government attorneys to withdraw cases against the Maoist leadership today. Bhattarai was accused of murders, causing explosions and destruction of government properties in various places at different times. (continue reading)
Talks within three days
KATHMANDU, June 12 – Chief Maoist negotiator Krishna Bahadur Mahara on Monday informed that next round of talks will be held within three days and said that his party has agreed to demonstrate flexibility on the House dissolution issue, one of the major points of contention between the rebels and the government.
Speaking at Reporters Club Nepal in the capital, Mahara, who is also spokesperson of his party said, “If we are honest about resolving the problem, we should not be distracted by issues such as the House dissolution.”
“After taking into consideration the government’s roadmap and acknowledging the spirit of our party chairman, we have decided to be flexible and to focus on the main goal [constituent assembly],” Mahara said. “The government put its road map and we have taken it in a new spirit,” he added.
Mahara’s comments came a day after Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula met Maoist Supremo Prachanda in remote Siklesh Village in Kaski district, some 200 km west of Kathmandu.
“We should now move ahead positively to attain the goals of the people’s movement and give up our respective rigid stances.” Mahara quoted Prachanda as saying after his meeting with Home Minister Sitaula. Mahara had also flown to Kaski with Sitaula in a private helicopter. (continue reading)