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Nepal

Volume 455: debated on Thursday 25 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether she expects the Nepalese Maoists to join the interim government in Nepal; what representations she has received on this issue; and what discussions she has had with (a) the UK ambassador to the United Nations and (b) the British embassy in Kathmandu on the interim Government. (110749)

The UK has played a significant role in helping to drive the peace process in Nepal and welcomes the formation of the interim Parliament following the recent adoption of the interim constitution. The introduction of 83 Maoist members to the interim Parliament is a positive step towards greater inclusion in the political process in Nepal. We expect Maoists to take their place in an interim Government to be formed following sufficient arms separation. The UK has taken the lead in New York on the drafting of a presidential statement and a Security Council resolution on UN support to Nepal's peace process. The full text of the presidential statement can be found on the UN website at:

http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/sc8883.doc.htm.

The Prime Minister of Nepal has personally thanked our ambassador in Kathmandu for the UK's efforts to secure these. Officials from our embassy in Kathmandu will continue to work closely with the Nepalese Government, particularly in key areas of human rights, rule of law and the forthcoming elections to a Constituent Assembly.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made on the unrest in south eastern Nepal. (111402)

The UK has not made any representations on the unrest in south-eastern Nepal. However, we are deeply concerned about the recent riots and civil unrest in the Terai and urge the Government of Nepal and Maoists to take positive steps to demonstrate their commitment to inclusion as outlined in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The lack of inclusion felt by many marginalised groups was one of the key causes of the conflict in Nepal. The UK played a leading role in drafting UN Security Council Resolution 1740 on Nepal which was adopted unanimously on 23 January. We worked hard to ensure in particular that this Resolution recognises the need to pay special attention to the needs of women, children and traditionally marginalised groups in the peace process. Failure now to acknowledge the demands of Madeshis and other groups based in the Terai risks further flare-ups, which have the potential to undermine the prospects for elections to the Constituent Assembly.