Reprinted from Nepal News.
Visiting United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, has made it clear that the actual number of the Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) combatants living in UN-monitored cantonments and other information on them can’t be shared. He also accused the political parties here of putting the blame on UNMIN in order to hide their own failures.
Referring to Nepal government’s request to UNMIN to provide information on Maoist combatants in the cantonments, Pascoe bluntly said that the actual number of Maoist combatants can’t be shared and it will remain a secret. He said the information on the combatants should be kept secret as per the understanding reached between the government and the Maoists and that UNMIN will honestly abide by it (the understanding).
The remark by the senior UN official comes at a time when the government has been annoyed by UNMIN’s refusal to share information on Maoist combatants, citing such information as ‘very confidential.’
Pascoe, who was speaking at a programme organized by Nepal Policy and Study Center in the capital on Thursday, further said that the international community is very concerned looking at the failing peace process in Nepal and asked the political parties here to abide by their past pledges and commitments.
He claimed the remarks [made by government ministers and top politicians] over the performance of UNMIN in the ongoing peace process and that allegations that UNMIN was to blame for the complications seen in the peace process were “false” and that the political parties are putting all sorts of blame on the Maoists to cover their mistakes and failure to fulfill their responsibilities.
“UNMIN is here to help…but it can’t take the blame for those who can’t shoulder the responsibility of successfully concluding the process a success,” Pascoe said. He further said that as UNMIN has been constantly brought into controversy, the UN Security Council will be forced to think whether it should extend the tenure of the mission in Nepal or not.
Pascoe had on Wednesday urged Nepal’s political forces to rebuild trust for the success of the peace process. He made the call during his meetings with top leaders of major political parties soon after landing in Kathmandu yesterday afternoon.
The government has been seeking authentic information about the combatants from UNMIN saying the available information is obsolete in that many combatants have already left the cantonments and that the identity cards issued to the combatants does not mention the information clearly and has a very unclear photo which makes it very difficult for authorities to determine whether the person receiving the pay-cheque is the authentic person.
UNMIN has been denying such information saying it can only provide the information at the joint committee which includes representatives of all stake-holders.