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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 December 2005, 17:11 GMT
Nepalese king rejects rebel truce
By Sushil Sharma
BBC News, Kathmandu

Nepal's King Gyanendra
The king has been under pressure to reciprocate the rebel ceasefire
The Nepalese government has ruled out declaring a ceasefire with Maoist rebels in the Himalayan kingdom.

There has been significant national and international pressure on the government to reciprocate a rebel ceasefire announced in September.

But a senior minister told a news conference in Kathmandu on Tuesday that the rebels were not sincere.

Earlier this month, the rebels extended their unilateral ceasefire until early January 2006.


Vice Chairman of the Council of Ministers Tulsi Giri said the government was determined to restore peace by tackling the long-running Maoist insurgency.

Mr Giri said that the rebels had been weakened in recent months.

Government troops stepped up the offensive against the rebels after King Gyanendra sacked a multi-party government and seized direct power in February.

Mainstream parties have protested against the royal takeover since then.

The rebels declared a unilateral ceasefire in September, followed by an accord with mainstream parties aimed at stepping up pressure on the king to end his direct rule.

There had been persistent national and international pressure on the government to reciprocate the rebel ceasefire to clear the way for a peaceful solution of the conflict.

'Disarm first'

The government has not ruled out a peaceful resolution to the conflict, but it has insisted the rebels lay down arms.

The authorities say the rebels used previous ceasefires to re-group and re-arm.

More than 12,000 people have died in the insurgency that is aimed at replacing the monarchy with a communist republic.

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