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UN envoy in Nepal calls for security agreements for Maoists as first-phase report signed

9 March 2007 The United Nations Political Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) today made public the conclusions of a tripartite report on the first phase of the world body’s registration of Maoist arms and fighters, as laid down in last year’s peace deal, while the UN envoy to the country said it was “essential” to reach an agreement regarding security for the group’s leaders.

The report by the Joint Monitoring Coordinating Committee (JMCC), made up of representatives from the UN, the Maoist Army and the Nepal Army, was signed yesterday and concluded that nearly 3,500 weapons were registered as well as more than 31,000 Maoist combatants during this first phase of the process.

“It is essential that the Government and the CPN-M (Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)) immediately finalize arrangements for security of the Maoist leadership, so that UNMIN can put in place full monitoring procedures for all Maoist arms,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Ian Martin, the head of UNMIN.

“UNMIN, and the members of the JMCC, will investigate any alleged breaches of the Agreement on Monitoring Arms and Armies, including reports of weapons outside the cantonment sites which are not approved for the security of Maoist leaders.”

The second phase of the monitoring process is scheduled to begin later this month and involves verifying the details of each person registered as a Maoist combatant to ensure they joined the army before the deadline of 25 May 2006 and that they are over the age of 18.

According to the conclusion of the report, the Nepal Army is to store arms in equal numbers to that of the Maoist Army, and discussions on this are ongoing within the JMCC.

The Security Council established UNMIN in January to assist with the follow-up to the Nepalese peace deal and also to support this year’s planned elections in the impoverished Himalayan country where 10 years of civil war killed around 15,000 people and displaced over 100,000 others.

However last month, amid violence in the Terai region of southern Nepal, Maoist combatants leaving their cantonment sites and a continuing lack of agreement among the political parties, Mr. Martin warned that June’s scheduled polls may have to be postponed.

“Unless a consensus can be reached very soon on the electoral arrangements for the constituent assembly election then the intention to hold that election by mid-June will be called into question,” he told a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York.

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