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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 April 2007, 09:19 GMT 10:19 UK
Nepal swears Maoists into cabinet
Nepalese Prime Minister GP Koirala (left) and Maoist chairman Prachanda
The prime minister (left) will serve alongside Maoists
Maoist ex-rebels have been sworn in as ministers in Nepal's interim government after a deal on the make-up of the new cabinet tasked with building peace.

Parties in the ruling alliance reached a deal after a day of haggling over senior posts.

Five Maoist ministers are joining the government under a peace deal that ended 10 years of bloody civil war.

The election of a constituent assembly, which will determine Nepal's future course, was set for 20 June.

A new chapter has begun in the history of Nepal
PM Girija Prasad Koirala

Up until last year's truce, the Maoists were engaged in a violent civil conflict with the state. Based in the mountains and jungles, they were banned as terrorists.

Now the Maoists are getting control of five out of 21 ministries: the departments of information, local development, planning and works, forestry, and women and children.

They are joining the government as the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

"A new chapter has begun in the history of Nepal," Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala told the interim parliament.

June election

An initial deal on cabinet posts was reached on Friday but differences over seniority rankings in the cabinet delayed its final formation until Sunday.

The constituent assembly to be elected in June will chart out Nepal's future.

It has to decide, among other issues, whether Nepal will remain as a kingdom or become a republic, as the Maoists want.

King Gyanendra relinquished key powers amid street protests last year, prompting the Maoist truce.

That ended 10 years of civil strife during which at least 13,000 people died.

Swearing in ceremony for Nepal's interim government

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