3 January 2006

Secretary-General Concerned Fighting Could Escalate in Nepal after Expiration of Communist Party's Unilateral Ceasefire

NEW YORK, 30 December (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General is seriously concerned that fighting could escalate in Nepal after the four-month-old unilateral ceasefire declared by the Communist party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) expires on 2 January 2006.  He deeply regrets that despite the appeal of so many national and international voices, including his own, no progress appears to have been made towards a mutually agreed truce between the Government of Nepal and the CPN-M.

The people of Nepal have benefited from the de-escalation of violence in the last four months and they would bear the brunt of a renewal in fighting.  In the interest of peace and the welfare of civilians throughout the country, the Secretary-General therefore reiterates his strong appeal to the Government of Nepal to reciprocate the ceasefire and to the CPN-M to extend its unilateral ceasefire.  The United Nations stands ready to assist in the realization of this objective should the parties so desire.

* *** *