As deadline looms Ban urges Nepal to agree on extending Constituent Assembly

27 May 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged all parties in Nepal to reach consensus on extending the body tasked with drafting the country’s new constitution, which was supposed to be completed by 28 May. Mr. Ban is “seriously concerned” that due to political differences the parties in Nepal have yet to reach an agreement to extend the term of the Constituent Assembly, according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.The Constituent Assembly was elected in May 2008, two years after the Government and the Maoists signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ending a decade-long civil war that claimed some 13,000 lives in the South Asian nation. Completing the drafting of the constitution by the deadline of 28 May is one of the main outstanding tasks of the peace process, which has recently stalled amid an ongoing political stalemate over key issues such as power-sharing arrangements and the reintegration of former Maoist combatants.“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,” the statement said. “Now is the time to put national interest first.”Mr. Ban added that 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 Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), established in 2007, has been assisting the country with the peace process. Its mandate, which runs until 15 September, includes monitoring the management of arms and armed personnel of both the Maoists and the Nepal Army, as well as in assisting in monitoring ceasefire arrangements.

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