Nepal Today

Friday, October 31, 2008

Secretary-General Ban to discuss hurdle with opposition leader

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 1 Nov: Before leaving for Bangladesh on the last leg of a four-nation Asian tour later Saturday, UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon will discuss hurdles in implementing Nepal’s peace process with main opposition leader Girija Prasad Koirala.
Ban, who arrived Friday on a 20-hour visit will discuss obstacles in the management, integration and resettlement of 19,000 Maoist combatants; Ban is the fifth of eight secretary generals to visit Nepal.
Hurdles erupted in the peace process after main opposition Nepali Congress, which negotiated the peace process while in government, refused to join a special integration government committee for integration of Nepal Army and Maoist PLA.
Congress is demanding the dissolution of the five-member committee and its reconstitution; Congress is demanding equal two seats in the committee with Maoists.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, holding a banquet for his guest Friday night, said Ban’s visit was an encouragement to the peace process that began in 2005.
Prachanda asked for continued UN assistance even after the completion of the peace process which is unlikely to fructify before the 23 January 2009 deadline when the second UNMIN ends in another three months.
The Maoist combatants are still in the 28 cantonments and satellite camps under UN supervision.
Ban told his host Nepal’s peace process was a world example and his Nepal visit was ‘historic’ because it comes after the formation of the CA.
Ban will fly to Bangladesh from Bhairahawa after paying prayers at Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha.
The secretary-general will take a mountain flight and view the Himalaya range, the world’s loftiest mountain range with Mount Everest.
He will pay a courtesy call on president Dr Ram Baran Yadav and address the CA—the first foreign dignitary given such an opportunity.
The visitor will also hold discussions with Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav and CPN-UML General Secretary Jhalanath Khanal—whose party is in the ruling coalition.
The election for the assembly was held 10 April with Maoists emerging as the largest party in the body that acts as parliament and is empowered to draft Nepal’s new constitution.
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