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No love lost

Thursday, March 18th, 2010
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B Lynn Pascoe has come and gone, but the ruckus between the government and UNMIN continues. On Wednesday, UNMIN Chief Karen Landgren wrote a letter to the government asking it to retract a statement made by Defence Minister Bidya Bhandari accusing the international agency of favouring the Maoists. According to Republica:

Landgren sent a letter to the prime minister Wednesday to protest the remarks that accused UNMIN of being “the Maoist party´s tail and of keeping the government in the dark.” The defense minister had also accused UNMIN of provoking the Maoists to carry out violent activity.

“The statement is untrue and defames the United Nations and its founding principles,” the letter undersigned by Landgren reads, “Such allegations place UNMIN´s staff at increased risk in our efforts to support Nepal´s peace process.”

Minister Bhandari was complaining about what she said was UNMIN’s refusal to share the number of Maoists combatants stationed in various cantonments. On Thursday, UNMIN issued a letter saying the government has actually never asked UNMIN to provide the number of the combatants. From Nagarik:

UNMIN has said the government did not ask it to provide the number of Maoist combatants in the cantonments. The government is justified in asking the number of those combatants, it has said in a letter, adding that the number is neither a secret nor is it to be withheld from the public. But the government had not requested such data, says the letter issued by UNMIN spokesperson.

Expect the government to deal with this when it are done fighting within itself. The two leading parties of the coalition cancelled a cabinet meeting over disagreements on Nepal Rastra Bank’s governor appointment and the contract for machine readable passport. Nepalnews writes:

The UML and the NC have their own candidates for NRB governor. The UML has named Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada, the current vice chairman of National Planning Commission, while NC wants deputy governor Bir Bikram Rayamajhi to be appointed to the top position of the central bank.

Similarly, the two main ruling allies also differ on the printing of MRPs. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala was expected to table a proposal in the cabinet today, proposing to award the multi-million dollar MRP printing contract to an Indian government-owned firm.

And, 31 people died today as a bus travelling from Kalikot to Surkhet skidded off the road and plunged into the Karnali river. Twelve passengers have been rescued and are receiving treatment in Surkhet.

Read also:
A letter to Baburam Bhattarai, by Ameet Dhakal, Reoublica

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