INTERNATIONAL

UNMIN to stay for six more months in Nepal

Prerana Marasini

KATHMANDU: A United Nations mission, UNMIN, which was established two years ago in Nepal to assist in the peace process primarily by monitoring the Maoists' army - the People's Liberation Army - and its weapons, will now stay here until July 2009.

According to the UN News Center, the Security Council on Friday extended the mandate of UNMIN (United Nations Mission in Nepal) by another six months, accepting the request of Kathmandu. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on January 9 had recommended the Council to extend the term of UNMIN, which it endorsed on January 23. Mr. Ban had also recommended for a phased, gradual drawdown and withdrawal of UNMIN staff.

According to the programmes and policies of the government, the Maoists' army would be "managed" by March 2009, by integrating and rehabilitating them. A special panel has been formed by the government with representatives of four major parties of the country, the Unified CPN (Maoists), Nepali Congress, CPN (UML), and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum. There are 19,600 Maoist combatants in 28 different UNMIN-monitored cantonments across the country.

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