Nepal crisis worries Western worldBy Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS
Sunday, November 21, 2010
KATHMANDU - With the prime ministerial election in Nepal put off till December and the opposition Maoist party preventing the government from tabling the budget and refusing to disband its parallel guerrilla army, there is mounting concern among Western governments who think Nepal is running out of time.
The heads of missions of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Britain and the European Union (EU) Saturday issued a joint statement saying they were concerned at partial implementation of the agreements.
South Korea and Japan also joined the group of envoys in urging all political parties to “rededicate themselves to delivering the commitments they made to the people of Nepal”.
The foreign concern came on the fourth anniversary of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2006 between Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and then prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala, which ended the 10-year Maoist uprising and finally brought relief to a violence-torn country.
The envoys said they were particularly concerned at the lack of progress on the integration and rehabilitation of former Maoist combatants, and determining the structure of the Nepal Army.
“These remain a central element of the CPA,” the envoys said, adding that it was never more urgent to address the issue as the UN agency overseeing the Maoists’ nearly 20,000 fighters was readying to pull out of Nepal from Jan 15.
The envoys also noted that the work of drafting a new constitution was behind schedule and there was no agreement on the future structure and governance of Nepal.
“With just six months to go, time is running out to produce a first draft of the constitution that meets Nepalis’ aspirations for a more prosperous, equitable, democratic Nepal,” the envoys said.
Other critical aspects of the CPA also remained incomplete like the Disappearances Commission that was to have investigated the fate of over 1,000 people missing during the insurgency and still remaining untraceable, as well as punishing war crimes.
“Political parties should renounce violence and work together for a lasting peace in respect of the rule of law,” the statement said. “Without rapid progress to a peaceful and stable democracy, Nepal risks missing out on the economic and social development, which its people desire.”
(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at email@example.com)