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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 November 2006, 18:40 GMT
Nepalese king hails peace accord
King Gyanendra
A vote to decide King Gyanendra's future is due next year
King Gyanendra of Nepal has welcomed Tuesday's peace agreement between the government and the Maoist rebels.

The pact formally ended a 10-year insurgency that killed 13,000 people. Under the landmark deal, the rebels will join a transitional government.

King Gyanendra took over power in February 2005, but was forced to step down by a popular uprising last April.

On Monday a panel held him responsible for excesses against pro-democracy protesters in the uprising.

Prayer for peace

In a statement, the monarch expressed his pleasure that "a peace agreement has been concluded in keeping with the nation's need and people's aspirations".

The king expressed the hope that "by ensuring sustainable peace, a prosperous Nepal can now be built with the collective efforts of all Nepalese people through multi-party democracy".

The monarch also prayed for "the eternal peace of the souls of all Nepalese who lost their precious lives".

The country's multi-party government and the Maoist rebels have been observing a ceasefire for more than six months since they co-ordinated mass protests that forced King Gyanendra to restore parliament and end direct rule.

The king has subsequently been stripped of all executive powers including the control over the 90,000-strong army.

There has been a persistent call for the abolition of the monarchy since then.

A constituent assembly election is due to be held early next year to decide its future.

Nepal's prime minister shakes hands with the Maoist leader

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