UN urges Nepal to save derailed peace process

Kathmandu, May 28 (IANS) As a dire constitutional crisis threatened to engulf Nepal from midnight with its interim parliament and ruling coalition headed for dissolution, the UN urged the political parties to put national interests first and save the imperilled peace process that had ended a decade of communist insurrection.

‘Now is the time to put national interest first,’ UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the warring parties who refused to be reconciled hours before impending chaos.

A spokesperson for the UN chief said in a statement from New York that Ban was seriously concerned that the major parties were yet to reach an agreement to extend the term of the interim parliament after Friday midnight.

The interim parliament also doubles up as Nepal’s constituent assembly, an elected body that was mandated to write a new constitution by May 28.

‘The Constituent Assembly and its progress to date toward the adoption of Nepal’s new constitution represent a significant and hard-won achievement of the peace process,’ the UN statement said.

‘The secretary-general calls urgently on the party leaders to regain their unity of purpose in order to preserve the assembly and the peace process.’

A European Union delegation, currently touring Nepal, has also been urging the ruling parties and the opposition Maoists to bury the hatchet and agree to extend the Friday deadline.

However, Nepal’s ruling coalition has been consistently refusing to recall Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, a condition that the Maoists are insisting on for an agreement.