On visit to Nepal, UN political chief pledges support for upcoming elections

Report
from UN News Service
Published on 21 Mar 2013 View Original

21 March 2013 – The United Nations political chief today commended Nepal for the progress made in its peace process and pledged that the world body will assist it to hold elections, as he wrapped up a two-day visit to the South Asian nation.

“The UN has worked in Nepal before in supporting elections and we continue to work to support a credible and an inclusive, competitive electoral process that takes place as quickly as possible,” Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman told reporters at the airport in Kathmandu, the capital.

During the visit – part of a three-nation tour that will also take him to India and Pakistan – Mr. Feltman met with Nepali government and political leaders, as well the UN country team. He said that part of his message to those he met was the UN’s support for elections as early as possible in the spirit of the recent political agreement.

Last week the country’s chief justice was appointed to head the government that will oversee the holding of Constituent Assembly elections, ending a political stalemate that began late last year. The previous Constituent Assembly was dissolved last May.

Mr. Feltman said the agreement was a “significant achievement” and it is important to build on it and bring all parties on board for a way forward.

He had seen a sincere desire to hold the elections as soon as possible but also an understanding that they need to be seen as credible by the widest number of people in Nepal, he stated, adding that it is important for the Election Commission to be named as soon as possible.

“We look forward to working with the Election Commission to see how the UN can play a role in supporting a process that would meet the aspirations of the Nepali people,” he stated.

In his meetings with officials, the Under-Secretary-General also discussed, among other issues, the importance of reaching out to all parts of the country’s political spectrum and society to bring them on board for the way forward; of maintaining the important advances made by women in politics; and of the need to ensure that the truth and reconciliation commission meets international standards.

The UN has closely supported Nepal’s peace process, having had a political mission in the country from 2007 until 2011, following the signing of the 2006 peace accords that ended the decade-long armed conflict between the Government and the Maoist opposition.