UN team to monitor arms issue in Nepal
The Nepalese home minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula says a United Nations team is expected to arrive in Nepal next month to monitor arms management as the government and Maoist rebels asked the UN to monitor their arms to expedite the peace process. Speaking to a local newspaper, Mr Sitaula said the arms management would clear the way for holding constituent assembly elections in April next year.
The decade-long Maoist insurgency in Nepal has killed about 13,000 people. The government and the rebels last week agreed to confine troops and arms within designated camps and barracks. The move had been seen as a compromise over the differences on the arms management. The government wanted the rebels to disarm ahead of the constituent assembly elections to draw up a new constitution. The rebels ruled that out until the elections are held next year. With mutual distrust remaining, the two sides asked the UN to monitor and verify the arms management.
In an interview with the Kathmandu Post newspaper, the home minister - who is also chief government negotiator - said if all sides worked honestly and effectively the arms issue should be settled by mid-September. The government and the rebels, who have been engaged in peace talks after a pro-democracy movement forced King Gyanendra to end his direct rule in April, have agreed to hold the elections for the constituent assembly next year. It will frame a new constitution and decide the future of the monarchy.