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Nepal Prez asks political parties to form natl govt

Kathmandu: Amid fears of chaos in Nepal following the end of the UN peace mission, President Ram Baran Yadav has asked the deadlocked political parties to form a new government based on consensus before January 21.

Yadav, the first president of the Republic, called on the political parties on Saturday to elect a Prime Minister before January 21 and form a new government on the basis of national consensus, according to the President`s Office.

The President`s call comes after Nepali Congress, the second largest party, withdrew its sole Prime Ministerial candidate R C Poudyal last week, paving the way for a fresh process to elect a new leader.

Nepali Congress decided to ask Poudyal to quit the race amid intense pressure from its key coalition partner CPN-UML, main opposition UCPN (Maoist) and from within the party in a bid to build a consensus to end the deadlock that has derailed the 2006 peace process.

The Parliament had rejected Poudyal in 16th rounds of voting since the resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.

As Nepal remained in a political deadlock, the UN`s blue flag was lowered at the Kathmandu office of the UNMIN, which was established by the world body as a special political mission in 2007 to manage the arms and armed personnel of the Maoists and the Nepal Army.

The UNMIN closure makes the fate of the 19,000 Maoist combatants confined in the cantonments uncertain as there was no clear roadmap regarding the future monitoring, integration and rehabilitation of the former PLA combatants.

Issuing a message at the closure of the UN Mission in Nepal, UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon expressed regret over the "insufficient progress made" made so far in the peace process and encourages the parties "to redouble their efforts to build the confidence that can bring progress on all fronts of Nepal`s peace process."

UNMIN chief Karin Landgren said "there are, most immediately, outstanding issues in relation to the future of the arms and armies".

The waring political parties claimed to have reached an agreement on monitoring of the former armed Maoist cadres lodged in special camps overseen by the UN mission.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and UCPN-Maoist chairman Prachanda inked a three-point deal yesterday to form a six-member team to monitor the arms and armies of both Maoist and the government.

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