Editorial in Rajdhani, 16 March
At first glance, the cabinet's reaction to UN Undersecretary-General B Lynn Pascoe's comments seems like a commitment to independence and sovereignty. Pascoe behaved in a colonial manner, threatening to withdraw UNMIN and raising questions about the competence of a sovereign government, so the cabinet's reaction is better late than never. In the past four years various embassies and missions in Kathmandu have been violating the Vienna Convention. The Indian and Chinese envoys go around giving statements even before they present their credentials. The Maoists, UML and NC have all been mute. The Madhav Nepal government has been silent on UNMIN and OHCHR overstepping their bounds to make comments. So what is the cabinet trying to do by suddenly unleashing a thunderbolt against Pascoe? Why wasn't the UN's resident representative summoned by the Foreign Ministry, as would have been the norm, to be told about the government's displeasure? The prime minister himself is obliged to donor largesse, so the cabinet's statement doesn't carry much credibility. The cabinet's reaction to Pascoe's statement is as objectionable as Pascoe's own statement.
Editorial in Janadesh, 16 March
The current puppet regime is trying to forget UNMIN's role in the peace process. It is also unhappy with UNMIN's neutral stance on the monitoring of arms and armies. UNMIN shouldn't give in to such pressure tactics. The current puppet government is using a three-pronged anti-people strategy:
1. Send UNMIN back, and allow Indian expansionists to make inroads in Nepal.
2. Allow new recruitment into the army and prepare for war.
3. Prevent integration of the armies, use that as an excuse not to write the new constitution and lead Nepal into indefinite war.
Lighting the fire
Editorial in Punarjagaran, 16 March
What happens if a referee who is supposed to be neutral starts dribbling and scoring goals? That is what UNMIN is doing in Nepal with its controversial, dangerous and objectionable meddling. It started with Ian Martin and now his successor Karin Landgren is carrying on the tradition of protecting the Maoists. Her activities are endangering not just Nepal but also India, which is grappling with its own Maoist war. Landgren's controversial role has been exacerbated by the undiplomatic and offensive tone of the remarks by UN Undersecretary-General Pascoe. The government had asked UNMIN to verify the numbers of guerrillas in its cantonments after receiving reports that these were down by 40 per cent. But UNMIN said it couldn't breach secrecy, raising doubts about its role. UNMIN is itself responsible for creating the conditions for it not being possible to extend its mandate beyond 15 May. It is not serious about the peace process and is relentlessly pro-Maoist. The whole country and the national forces are on the side of peace, it's only the Maoists and UNMIN who are against it. The only solution is to not extend UNMIN's mandate and ask it to leave.
"Sky won't fall if UNMIN leaves"
Interview with former ambassador Bhekh Bahadur Thapa in Drishti, 16 March
Thapa: I blame both sides. The UN was in a hurry to come, and the Nepali side was also in a hurry to bring it in. There are very few instances of the UN actually restoring peace in any country. But the expectation was that the UN would be neutral.
But Pascoe said UNMIN would leave.
That's all he could say. I never expected the kind of undiplomatic words he used while here. He talked down to Nepal. Why did our leaders and the government tolerate it? I am surprised. He said the government was trying to gloss over its own shortcomings and blame UNMIN. He shouldn't have said that. It shows how tarnished our international reputation is. I have never seen an international civil servant behave like that with the government of an independent country. And when he accused the political forces of incompetence, the Maoists were included. It did not suit him to address the leaders of a sovereign nation in such an uncivilised way.
What will happen if UNMIN quits?
The sky won't fall. The parties must agree on a minimum program to protect the peace process. Mediation can be done by parties, civil society and human rights organisations. If there is no basic agreement then there is a danger of a return to conflict.
The real reason
Editorial in Kantipur, 17 March
The spat between the government and UNMIN has reached New York. American citizen and UN Undersecretary-General Pascoe blamed the political parties for stalling the peace process and this can be considered to be the opinion of UN headquarters. How could UNMIN have violated the Agreement on Arms and Armies Clause 2, which requires it to keep details of the strengths of the two armies secret, by giving numbers of Maoist guerrillas in the camps to the government? What if the Maoists ask UNMIN to provide details of the Nepal Army? If the government really wanted to know how many fighters there are in the cantonments, it could have used the JMCC, which has representatives of both the Maoists and the Nepal Army. In fact the JMCC was set up precisely for such complications. UNMIN's role, after all, is not that of a mediator but of monitor. The ownership of the peace process is with the government and the Maoists, UNMIN is just there to help. The government and the Maoists have few options: either expand and extend UNMIN's mandate or ask it to leave. But by embarrassing an international organisation which it invited, the government is putting a serious dent in Nepal's standing. UNMIN was sent here by the decision of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Of them, the US, UK and China are not happy with the government's handling of this issue. By trying to sideline the UN at a time when the peace process is stalled is to irritate a large segment of the international community just to please a regional power.
Camouflage fatigue - FROM ISSUE #494 (19 MARCH 2010 - 25 MARCH 2010)
Win-win - FROM ISSUE #494 (19 MARCH 2010 - 25 MARCH 2010)
Undermining UNMIN - FROM ISSUE #493 (12 MARCH 2010 - 18 MARCH 2010)