June 20th, 2007 04:48 EST
Secretary-General welcomes new round of monitoring Nepalese combatants
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the beginning of the second stage of monitoring by the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) of Maoist army personnel to ensure that no minors are serving.
"This is a crucial stage of the implementation of the Agreement on Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies," he said in a statement issued by his spokesperson.
The UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) will individually verify the details of each registered Maoist army member to ensure that they were over the age of 18 before 25 May 2006 and that they joined the Maoist army before this cut-off date. Child protection officers from the UN Children`s Fund (UNICEF) and registration personnel from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) will also participate in the effort.
UNMIN teams completed the first phase of registering weapons and personnel in mid-February, when more than 30,850 Maoist personnel were registered and 2,855 weapons were stored under 24-hour UN monitoring. An equivalent number of weapons of the Nepal Army was also stored under UN-monitoring as part of this process.
The verification process will be undertaken through individual interviews of each person registered as a Maoist combatant, and will be done in each of the seven main cantonment sites one after the other, according to UNMIN.
Additionally, Mr. Ban "reiterates to all parties the need to cooperate in the creation of a conducive environment to holding the Constituent Assembly Election later this year."