UN political chief urges Nepali parties to conclude statute drafting through compromise

KATHMANDU, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) — United Nations Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, has urged Nepali leaders to conclude the constitution drafting process through compromise, flexibility and inclusivity.

The visiting UN official’s remarks came at a time when Nepalese political parties are not able to find ways to narrow down their differences on the key contentious issues of the new statute such as system of governance and judiciary when there is just one week left to meet the Jan. 22 deadline.

“We encourage Nepalese leaders to put aside narrow interests and exercise flexibility in reaching an agreement in the interest of Nepali people. The adoption of the constitution is a historic event that will mark the culmination of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2006 between the then rebel Maoists and the state,” Feltman told reporters on Wednesday.

The top UN official who arrived in the Himalayan country on Tuesday morning also encouraged the leaders neither to threaten a walk out nor force a vote, rather to conclude the historical task of constitution drafting on the basis of broader consensus.

The under secretary general who met chiefs of Nepali political parties including President Dr Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala during his two-day visit, said that the Nepal constitution is not a routine piece of legislation but a foundation document that should enjoy the widest people support.

While talking about his meetings with entire political spectrum, the top UN official said that Nepalese leaders have assured him to

find a solution on time.

“But time according to the calendar set by the leaders themselves is running out. We believe it is essential for political leaders to seize the moment and carry out the mandate entrusted to them by the Nepali people. We appeal to all leaders to rise above their party ambitions and move forward in the national interests of the country — as they did in 2006. This is a historical opportunity of Nepal,” he added.

The Department of Political Affairs (DPA) of the UN headed by Under Secretary Feltman provided support to the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) from 2007 to early 2011, which had assisted Nepal in its transition to peace following a decade of armed-conflict.

UNMIN also played an important role in the successful holding of the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections. UNMIN withdrew from Nepal on Jan. 15, 2011 in line with the Security Council Resolution 1939.

The United Nations has been engaging in Nepal through the United Nations Country Team and through the continued assistance of the Department of Political Affairs.

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