Q & A: Staffan de Mistura
Kofi Annan's speical envoy STAFFAN DE MISTURA says he detected lack of trust and knowledge about techniques of confidence building in Nepal. And he offers to help.
You have repeatedly insisted on all the parties to seize the moment. Now as you leave are you satisfied that the moment has been seized or are you disappointed?
No, I am not disappointed, but we always expect the momentum to go faster than what sometimes happens. But I am quite optimistic that the momentum regarding the confidence building measure, are going to produce effects. Now, I could have liked to have those confidence building measures immediately. But even if they are announced in the next two or three days while they are being absorbed by everyone, its fine. What matters is that the momentum is not left and everybody goes back waiting and hoping that somebody else makes the concession. In peace process we need compromise and flexibility and I think that various parties are detecting them.
What are the major differences you are finding regarding the management of arms?
The major differences are well known to you very well, so I am not going to repeat them. What I have detected is there is lack of trust in some cases. There is lack of knowledge about some of the techniques of confidence building. In both cases the United Nations can help, but at the end of the day they are the ones who are to respond to the people of Nepal in trying to bridge this lack of trust going into a process quickly. We are there to help them. Having said that, during the last few days, particularly in the last few hours, I've detected coming much closer to a clear understanding of what is needed in terms of peace building measures. So, the trust needs to be nurtured, like a plant with water, but there is a need to put a lot of water at the moment.
When shall the final UN assessment team come to work?
The process is the following from the UN point of view: first of all this report will be prepared by this mission, submitted it to the Secretary General, by the middle of next week. The Secretary General will analyze it, study it. And his own judgment and decision will be crucial, but at the same time I'm sure he will also listen to the advice of member countries and that of Government of Nepal. While this is happening of course, the mission will not have returned. We are hoping that meanwhile we may be getting further news about a decision here about confidence building measures that we have been advising them to take and they are very much aware of, and they've been discussing it. If those confidence building measures are adopted and announced while we are in New York then of course the report which will be presented to the Secretary General, will take those into substantive account and will probably help in the acceleration of the decision. Following that, if the Secretary General decides that one of those areas are the ones all four in which the UN can start working, then the UN normally gets active quite quickly in this type of important case like Nepal.
What are some of the confidence building measure that you would advocated?
That is exactly something that I would not elaborate, you understand why, it is really in the hands of various sides and they are related to arms management and armies management, and they are concrete signals that each others can give to the other side obviously with the assistance of the UN, in order to start building confidence about the solutions. Sometimes problems like arms management don't need to be solved in one slot. Because then you get wall to wall and principled approaches, they can be solved by small slices, building confidence and we have some experience in that and we shared it with the two sides.
Did you propose any formula for the decommissioning of arms and the time frame?
We have shared with both sides, both in the field actually and in Kathmandu, what has been the experience that the UN has been applying in many other places. But you know and we have said it from the first day we've arrived, Nepal is a special case. While we've been presenting various formulas, for Nepal there is a need of special formula adapted to the local current environment, but those experiences we have and the expertise we have, have been shared. And I believe that much of it can be implemented if there is a decision by the two sides to come up with at-least these confidence building measures, on arms and armies management.
Are you clear on what kind of assistance the UN can provide in Nepal's arms management?
Well, we are clearly having very much a clear idea of what the UN can do in not only in similar cases, that's why the assessment mission is meant to analyze its possible scope of possible nature of UN involvement, in arms management and in any other areas. For instance, in area such as electoral assistance the UN has been doing in many countries and can easily do so if so requested and if so decided by the Secretary General, and if so supported by funding through donors, implement an active operation in electoral assistance. In the case of Human Rights, we already have substantial activity in presence on human rights and that can be expanded depending on the decision by the Secretary General, and donor countries and Nepalese authorities. Regarding the question or assisting the monitoring of the code of conduct that is something we can also provide through the observers and monitors, the same would apply and could apply in the monitoring of arms and armies management, provided we are seeing a beginning of confidence
building measures from both sides.
What if the parties do not reach to a minimum agreement?
We are in Nepal, and in the UN is always optimistic. So I would not even consider that option. Peace and peace process in Nepal in particular is too important. There have been too much sufferings and I don't even want to consider that option. I feel that all want peace now. We have to help them and you can help too, to make sure that they are delivering on those confidence building measures.
This is an unofficial transcription of Staffan de Mistura's press conference upon the completion of his Nepal mission on Thursday, Aug 3, 2006.
Posted by Editor on August 8, 2006 06:13 AM