Kathmandu, May 14 — Change of stance by opposition Maoists regarding integration and rehabilitation of former People’s Liberation Army rebels continues to affect the fragile peace process in Nepal. Two days after UCPN (Maoist) chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ announced possibility of solving the vexed issue within four months, the party did a flip-flop on Friday. Maoist members of the special committee on integration and rehabilitation of the nearly 19000 former PLA rebels abstained from a meeting to resolve the key issue that has brought the peace process to a standstill. The Maoists who orchestrated a six-day strike earlier this month are demanding removal of the government and formation of a national unity government led by them before holding any formal talks on the peace process. Worried at developments, the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) has termed the need to arrive at a consensus among the parties as “extremely urgent”. Established in January 2007 and entrusted with the task of monitoring arms and personnel of PLA as well as Nepal Army, UNMIN’s tenure has been extended six times till date. The last extension for a period of four months till September 15, 2010 came on Wednesday. “The Security Council is not happy about the extensions and expects to see positive development,” said UNMIN chief Karin Landgren. She also expressed concern at the political parties not capitalizing on the conducive environment created last week after Maoists withdrew their strike. The Security Council has asked the Nepal government as well as UCPN (M) to agree on a time-bound action plan on integration and rehabilitation of Maoist rebels with help from the special committee.
The deadline for drafting a new constitution and tenure of the Constituent Assembly expires on May 28. The country could come under emergency rule if the tenures of both are not extended.