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UN arms monitors in Nepal are beginning their work after November’s peace agreement which ended a 10-year insurgency by Maoist rebels. 

The first group of 19 is likely to be greatly boosted after the UN Security Council considers Nepal’s case later this week. 

The monitors are current or retired soldiers and come from countries including Jordan, Yemen and Canada. 

The 10-year conflict took the lives of about 13,000 people. 

The total number of monitors will rise quickly, probably to more than 150, depending on a report by the UN secretary general due for release and likely to be approved by the UN Security Council on Thursday. 

It was speculated that the mission will be headed by the current UN Secretary General’s special representative in Nepal, Ian Martin. 

The UN Security Council is expected to make a final decision on the number of experts and budget needed for Nepal’s peace process. 

On Friday, UN said it will begin the process of registering and monitoring Maoist rebel arms starting January 15. 

The UN has also recruited 111 former Indian and British Gurkha soldiers as a temporary measure to oversee the process. 

© 2007 DPA 


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