October 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 September 2010
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ASIA

Nepal

Expected Council Action

Council members are expecting in October a briefing in closed consultations from Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe following his visit to Nepal as called for in resolution 1939 in September. (The visit is expected to take place in the first half of October to focus on the implementation of the agreement reached by parties to complete the final tasks of the peace process by 14 January 2011.)

At press time it was unclear if there would be a written report or simply an oral briefing.

UNMIN’s mandate expires on 15 January 2011.

Key Recent Developments
On 15 September the Council adopted resolution 1939 deciding to extend the mandate of the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) until 15 January 2011, after which the mandate would be terminated. Resolution 1939 also called on the Nepalese protagonists to implement both the agreement reached on 13 September, as well as an action plan with a timetable and clear benchmarks for the integration and rehabilitation of Maoist army personnel.

On 13 September the Nepalese government and the Maoists agreed to:

  • implement documents prepared by the Special Committee for taking forward the peace process (the Special Committee was formed to supervise the integration and rehabilitation of former Maoist combatants);
  • bring the Maoists combatants under the Special Committee without delay;
  • take up the remaining tasks of the peace process from 17 September and complete them by 14 January 2011; and
  • request an extension of UNMIN’s term for the last time for four months under the current mandate.

There had been some confusion in the days leading up to the mandate extension. The Council had received two letters with different requests on UNMIN’s mandate renewal. One from the Nepalese government side came during a briefing from the Secretary-General’s representative in Nepal, Karin Landgren, on 7 September. It requested a four-month extension of UNMIN’s mandate and asked UNMIN to focus on “the monitoring of management of the Maoist combatants and their arms until the Special Committee takes responsibility of this task”. The letter made no mention of whether the Nepalese army should be under UNMIN monitoring.

On 9 September the United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-Maoist) sent a letter asking for a six-month extension of UNMIN and for UNMIN to continue monitoring both the Maoist ex-combatants and the Nepalese army.

Following talks between the Nepalese parties the Council received new letters on 14 September from both sides requesting a four-month extension. However, some differences remained. One specified that this would be the final extension of UNMIN’s mandate. The UCPN-Maoist letter was more nuanced and stated that it hoped that it would be possible to bring the “ongoing peace process of Nepal to a fruitful conclusion within that period.”

(Please see our 14 September Update Report for more detailed information about the developments leading up to UNMIN’s mandate renewal.)

On 23 September the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights called for the establishment of a police complaints commission or another independent mechanism, following findings that security forces were possibly involved in the extrajudicial killings of dozens of people between January 2008 and June 2010.

There have been allegations of Maoist army personnel involvement in two recent incidents. One on 16 September involved a clash with villagers in Thotri village and the second was a robbery on 24 August in Gwagha village.

On 19 September the Nepalese parliament failed at its eighth attempt to elect a new prime minister since July. Maoist leader Puspa Kamal Dahal (Prachandra) had withdrawn from the race in early September leaving Ramchandra Poudel from the Congress Party as the only candidate. However, Poudel failed to secure an overall majority of the votes. The next vote is expected to be held on 30 September.

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council is whether the two sides will be able to keep their commitment to complete the remaining tasks of the peace process by the end of UNMIN’s mandate on 14 January 2011.

A related issue is what action the Council should take if the Secretary-General’s report indicates that there has been little progress made since the Nepalese government and the Maoists signed their agreement on 13 September.

Also an issue is what needs to be done to ensure an orderly drawdown and withdrawal of UNMIN by 15 January 2011.

Another issue is what type of arrangements will be put in place for the monitoring of arms if UNMIN is to leave by mid-January 2011.

Another issue is whether it would be wise to have UNMIN withdraw from Nepal if the security situation deteriorates.

Options
The most likely option for the Council is to listen to the briefing but take no action.

A possible option is a statement or remarks to the press from the President reflecting the Council’s reactions to the Secretariat’s progress report on the implementation of the final tasks of the peace process.

Also an option is to schedule another meeting on Nepal in November to monitor developments ahead of the mandate expiry in mid-January.

Council Dynamics
At the time of UNMIN’s mandate renewal in September, Council members were divided over a one-month roll-over or a four-month extension. The UK, which is the lead country on Nepal, and a number of European countries, advocated a one-month roll-over as they felt it would give the Council time to look at options and make a better informed decision.

However, once the parties agreed on a four-month extension, countries such as China and Russia, as well as a number of elected members, felt that a four-month extension would be more appropriate.

Many members are frustrated with yet another last-minute request by Nepal. There appears to be a growing acceptance that it is time for UNMIN to leave Nepal, particularly given the increasingly adversarial policy to the UN being employed by the Nepali Congress party. The US and France in particular appeared to want to make it clear that this would be the last extension for UNMIN. However, some others seem more concerned that if UNMIN left prematurely without alternative monitoring arrangements already in place, this could undermine peace and security in Nepal.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1939 (15 September 2010) extended UNMIN until 15 January 2011.
  • S/RES/1740 (23 January 2007) established UNMIN.

Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2010/453 (2 September 2010) concerned the implementation of UNMIN’s mandate.  

Other

  • S/PV.6385 (15 September 2010) was the meeting record of the extension of UNMIN’s mandate to 15 January 2011.
  • S/2010/474 (14 September 2010) contained the two letters from the Nepalese government and the Maoists asking for a four-month extension of UNMIN.
  • S/2010/473 (9 September 2010) was the letter from the UCPN-Maoist party asking for a six-month extension of UNMIN.
  • S/2010/472 (7 September 2010) was the letter from the Nepalese government requesting an extension of UNMIN and a change of mandate.
  • S/PV.6377 (7 September 2010) was the briefing by the Secretary-General’s Representative, Karin Landgren.

Other Relevant Facts

Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission

Karin Landgren (Sweden)

UNMIN: Size and Composition

248, including about 72 arms monitors as of August 2010

Duration

23 January 2007 to 15 January 2011

Useful Additional Source

International Crisis Group, Nepal’s Rites of Passage, Asia Report, No. 194, 29 September 2010

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