United Nations Mission to Nepal (UNMIN) Chief Ian Martin organized a press meet today in his office in New Baneshwor, Kathmandu to disclose the total numbers of UNMIN verified Maoist guerillas inside the cantonments.
• The corrected number of personnel registered in the first phase was 31,318. 18,923 of these personnel were verified in the second phase as members of the Maoist army.
• An additional 932 persons who had not been registered in the first phase were presented for the verification process in the second phase. 679 of this total were verified as members of the Maoist army.
• 8,640 personnel did not appear for verification interviews in the second phase and were automatically disqualified.
• 4,008 persons remain to be discharged from cantonments after the total of absentees has been taken into account. 2,973 of this total were assessed to be under the age of 18 on 25 May 2006.
• The full total verified as members of the Maoist army is thus 19,602, comprising 15,756 men and 3,846 women.
Below is a press statement read out by Ian Martin, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in front of journalists on 27 December 2007
We have distributed the statement of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued yesterday in New York, welcoming the 23-point agreement reached by the Seven-Party Alliance. I myself already had the occasion to express an initial welcome for the agreement when we honoured members of the Interim Task Force in this building on Monday. Let me reiterate that welcome today. The parties to Nepal’s peace process asked for the assistance of the United Nations with a view to creating a free and fair atmosphere for the election of the Constituent Assembly, and the seven parties have now committed themselves to achieving this for an election before the end of the current Nepali year. Fulfilling this commitment is central to consolidating Nepal’s peace process and moving forward with the democratic transition.
I will not refer to the two aspects of the agreement which have commanded most attention – the commitment to a federal democratic republic and the modification of the electoral system – because these are matters on which I have always made clear that it would not be appropriate for the United Nations to advocate a position. Suffice it to say that I am hopeful that the compromises reached will lead to a timely and credible election for a Constituent Assembly that the country has been waiting for.
Since so many of the commitments in the new agreement have been made before, I attach particular importance to the agreement to form within a month a high level committee for monitoring the effective implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and other agreements. I also believe that the commitment to create local bodies by agreement is of crucial importance to establishing conditions of public security in the districts and villages, essential for the election. The importance that the Secretary-General and UNMIN have always attached to dialogue with and inclusion of traditionally marginalized groups is more relevant than ever. Their representatives have repeatedly stressed that they have the greatest interest in the election of a Constituent Assembly. I believe there is now an opportunity to ensure, through dialogue with these groups, the establishment of a truly representative Constituent Assembly where they will be properly represented and which is necessary for the restructuring of the state which they seek.
The agreement promises progress on matters linked to UNMIN’s monitoring of the management of arms and armies: release of payments to Maoist combatants, discharge of those disqualified in verification by UNMIN, and deliberations in the special committee to consider the supervision, integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist combatants. Since UNMIN completed its verification, I have met with Chairman Prachanda and Peace Minister Ram Chandra Poudel to discuss our cooperation regarding discharge, and I have now sent to the two sides a report on UNMIN’s monitoring of arms and armies, including the final report on verification. This report will be discussed in the Joint Monitoring Coordination Committee before we make it public, but in the meantime I will give you the key figures: [see the box above]
The verification process was a difficult one, requiring thousands of individual interviews, and it was a rigorous one. UNMIN arms monitors, a professional military physician, UNICEF and UNDP experts were all part of the verification teams, and the interviews they conducted with Maoist personnel were extensive when they needed to be in order to make their decisions. I am proud of the work they did in executing a very demanding task – much of it during difficult monsoon conditions.
And I express appreciation of the good cooperation received from the Maoist army once initial difficulties had been resolved.
As some of you have reported, the Government has now written formally to the Secretary-General requesting an extension of the duration of the mandate of UNMIN for a further six months. The Secretary-General has sent the letter to the Security Council and will be presenting to them his own report and recommendations, which we expect to be considered by the Council before UNMIN’s current mandate expires on 23 January.
In signing the 23-point agreement, the parties have rightly acknowledged that the burden is now on implementation of commitments – to the election to which they have committed themselves, to dialogue, and to transforming existing agreements from rhetoric to reality. As the Secretary-General says in his statement, the United Nations stands ready to extend all necessary assistance.