Former home minister and one-time favourite of the Maoists, KRISHNA PRASAD SITAULA, was one of the vociferous figures in speaking against the extension of the UNMIN. In an interview with NEW SPOTLIGHT he explains why he is upbeat about the future of the process without the UNMIN. Excerpts:
UNMIN was supposed to go only after the integration of the Maoist combatants. But it has been sent back without accomplishing the job. Why?
The cantonments housing the combatants were to be dismantled in six months. But the Maoists did never show commitment to this part of the peace agreement. Instead, they tried to play with the Nepal army. So there was no point in continuing the UNMIN’s stay here.
Why did the NC and the UML object to the UNMIN’s stay whereas the Maoists wanted it to continue?
NC had no objection as such. But Prachanda would not have moved the peace process forward if the UNMIN continued to stay. I can say this based on the last two years’ experience.
Why did the other parties suspect the UNMIN?
It was supposed to monitor the combatants and the weapons. But it was felt wanting in cases where the combatants came out of the camps with weapons. UNMIN may not have been at fault but the people associated with it were. None including the government can squarely criticize
Many blame the UNMIN’s exit on India. Why did India want it to go?That’s not the case. I do not know if India has spoken for the UNMIN’s exit. The fact is the peace process did not move an inch when the UNMIN was here. And because the peace process did not move, the constitution-making also could not much headway.
So the UNMIN was shown the door to corner the Maoists into moving the peace process forward?
I don’t know if the UNMIN’s exit will make the Maoists easier or difficult to deal with. But one thing I know for sure is that they will feel the pressure now. Now that the UNMIN is gone the political parties cannot afford to linger the peace process. They will have to hurry to put the things on track.
By SAROJ DAHAL