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Nepal Political Parties Must Overcome Partisanship

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UN Secrectary General BAN KI-MOON say Nepal's political parties must overcome partisanship.

As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I spend most of my time [trying] to find out, to see whether anything is going wrong around the world. Now today, I’m very happy to prove to you that Nepal and its peace process provide a rare opportunity that, for a change, something is going right, towards the right direction.

Through a decade of conflict, Nepal was the subject of great concern, as you may agree, at the United Nations. But as the images in this exhibition illustrate, remarkable changes are now under way. From the people’s movement of 2006 to the historic Constituent Assembly election of last April, Nepal has taken dramatic steps in its transition to peace.

The United Nations has been privileged to play a supporting role in a peace process fully owned and led by [the] Nepalese people.

Quiet diplomacy supported by the United Nations over a number of years helped to encourage a political, negotiated solution. These efforts were followed by the establishment of the United Nations Mission [in Nepal], known as UNMIN, which was deployed early last year, only weeks after the signing of the peace agreement.

Working in some of the world’s most rugged terrain, UN arms monitors, electoral advisers, demining experts, gender and social affairs advisers, civil affairs officers and human rights observers have all made important contributions. Tragically, several months ago, several UNMIN staff were among those who lost their very precious lives because of this [United Nations] helicopter crash in the Himalayas. Their sacrifice is also honoured in this exhibit.

UNMIN is a good example of a focused United Nations mission that will stay only as long as its presence is desired by [the] Nepalese people. It has also shown that the UN system can work together as one, with many departments and agencies pitching in to support Nepal’s transition.

As you know, we all watched with wonder and great hope as Nepal went to the polls in April. The Constituent Assembly election was a stirring moment for your country; I am delighted that the colourful images of that moving event are also on display here. As the pictures highlight, women and groups that have been traditionally neglected in Nepal are well represented in the new Assembly. Indeed, it is the most diverse elected body in the country’s history.

But the hard work has only just begun.

Drafting a new constitution over the next two years will be a major achievement and challenge. There are many other complex questions that remain to be addressed including delivering new economic opportunities for the people. These represent crucial challenges for Nepal.

To advance, Nepal’s political parties will need to overcome partisanship. And they will have to work together towards these ends.

Achieving an “inclusive peace” may be the biggest challenge of all. It will not be easy to unite this mosaic of a nation behind a shared vision for the future.

However, looking at the pictures around us, I am hopeful that Nepal will succeed, and that peace and progress will endure. As this story unfolds, the United Nations will stand by Nepal and its people, and we will do whatever we can to help.

This is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the opening of the Nepal Peace Process photo exhibit, in New York, 6 August, 2008. The text of his speech is available here.


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Brihát Śhānti Sámjhautā, 2006
(Comprehensive Peace Agreement)

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