New York, NY (BBN)– Swift action to overcome Nepal’s political impasse is required if the Asian nation is to meet the January 2011 deadline to wrap up its stalled peace process, a top United Nations political official cautioned on Thursday.

In September this year, the country’s opposing political groups reached the so-called Four-Point Agreement on completing the remaining tasks of the peace process by 14 January 2011, among other issues.

In line with that Agreement, the Security Council voted to wind up the UN’s special political mission in Nepal (UNMIN) on 15 January.

Despite some important steps having been taken, “no breakthrough has been achieved,” B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Council on Thursday. “It is too early to conclude that the parties are on a course” that would see the Four-Point Agreement implemented by the January deadline.

Three months after Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal stepped down, the country is still being led by a caretaker Government, with 12 rounds of voting in the Legislature-Parliament failing to produce a new leader.

In 2006, the government and the Maoists signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), ending a decade-long civil war which claimed some 13,000 lives.

“Nepal is undergoing a process of significant political and social transformation and consolidation of its democracy,” Mr. Pascoe, who visited the country earlier this month, said on the day.

In spite of the many strides Nepal has made, over time, the unity of the parties – both internally and in working together – “has frayed, eroded by the difference of ideology, perspective and the challenges of balancing the rules of competitive democratic politics with the need for sharing power and maintaining a modicum of political consensus.”

Mr. Pascoe pointed out that several key commitments have yet to be completed, chiefly the adoption of a new constitution and addressing the future of the two armies.

UNMIN was set up in 2007 to help Nepal hold elections for the Constituent Assembly, monitor the arms and armies for both the Government and Maoist sides, provide technical assistance to the Election Commission, and assist in monitoring the ceasefire.

BBN/AD/SI-15Oct10-4:55 pm (BST)

Intended to have a limited run, the mission was originally established with a one-year mandate, but its presence has been extended seven times at the request of the parties.