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Last Updated: Friday, 5 May 2006, 08:56 GMT 09:56 UK
Norway rules out Nepal peace role
Maoist rebels in Nepal
The rebels have agreed to attend peace talks
Norway's chief mediator to Sri Lanka has ruled out his country taking a major role in peace efforts in Nepal.

Erik Solheim suggested however, that India could take a lead in helping end Nepal's 10-year Maoist insurgency.

He was speaking at the end of a trip to Nepal in which he met the new Prime Minister, Girija Prasad Koirala, and other politicians and diplomats.

Mr Koirala came to power after popular protests against King Gyanendra and has invited the rebels to talks.

'A part'

Mr Solheim told reporters in Kathmandu that Norway had no ambition to play a major role in Nepal.

Erik Solheim
Mr Solheim continues to play a key role in Sri Lanka

But he said Norway could be a part of the international community to help the peace process.

Mr Koirala's government has declared a ceasefire, invited the rebels to talks and urged them to join an interim government to hold elections for a constituent assembly.

The assembly is aimed at writing a new constitution to decide the future of the monarchy.

The rebels have agreed to enter into the talks and join the government ahead of the assembly elections.

Peace talks failed twice in the five years.

More than 13,000 people have died in the Maoist insurgency which is aimed at establishing a communist republic.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across Nepal last month to demand an end to King Gyanendra's autocratic rule after he seized direct powers in February 2005.

Attitudes towards the monarchy have hardened recently in Nepal. Protests were initially against King Gyanendra but there have been growing calls for an end to the monarchy itself.

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