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09KATHMANDU178 2009-03-06 08:48:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kathmandu
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1. (C) On March 5, UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) Senior
Political Advisor Kathy Jones confirmed to Emboff that UNMIN
monitors were reporting People's Liberation Army's (PLA)
recruitment underway at three of the seven main cantonments,
with the greatest amount of activity at the "Fourth
Division" cantonment in Nawalparasi district in western
Terai. (Note: This is the site where during the PLA
anniversary celebration in February Prime Minister Dahal told
the PLA that it was now under the Special Committee, and
needed to follow the committee's decisions.) According to
Nepal Police, the PLA have distributed 1,000 application
forms at the Nawalparasi camp. Jones added that UNMIN had
also received reports from its monitors that division
commanders had told disqualified combatants they would have
first priority in the recruitment process.

Prime Minister Downplays Controversy


2. (C) Addressing the National Conference of the Nepal Bar
Association on March 5, Prime Minister Dahal reportedly
stated that the controversies surrounding recruitment by the
Nepal Army (NA) and the PLA would be over soon and would not
jeopardize the peace process. Dahal claimed that as Maoist
party chairman he could not order the PLA commanders to stop
the recruitment because the PLA now was under the authority
of the government and the Special Committee. The PM, who
also chairs the Special Committee, further stated that the
Special Committee would meet in the next few days to resolve
the issue. Mohammed Habibullah, a Madhesi People's Rights
Forum member of the Special Committee, told Emboff March 6
that no one has yet contacted him about scheduling a meeting.

Next Steps


3. (C) Post understands that a letter from UNMIN to the Prime
Minister restating its opposition to recruitment by the PLA
and the NA is forthcoming. The British, French and U.S.
Ambassadors are scheduled to see PM Dahal March 8. (The
Russian And Chinese Ambassadors have been invited to
participate in the meeting, but have not yet responded.)
Draft talking points have been sent to SCA/INS for review.