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Nepal's ex-PM 'won't join rebels'


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King Gyanendra, seated, takes part in a ceremony at the start of the year.
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KATHMANDU, Nepal (CNN) -- A day after his release from a 59-day house arrest, former Nepalese prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala on Saturday dismissed speculations that his Nepali Congress party would join the Maoist rebels in opposing monarchy.

Koirala was placed on house arrest February 1 after King Gyanendra took absolute power and put scores of political leaders on house arrest, saying successive governments had failed to control the nine-year-old Maoist insurgency.

In a press appearance Saturday, Koirala, 82, categorically dismissed speculations that his party could form a strategic alliance with the Maoists, who see monarchy as their number one class enemy.

"Until they (the Maoists) lay down their arms, there is no question of us working with them or forming an alliance with them," Koirala said.

More than 11,000 Nepalis have died since the Maoists launched their "people's war" in 1996 to abolish monarchy and establish a one-party communist rule.

Since February 1, Nepal has been under emergency rule and fundamental rights remain suspended, though the royalist government has progressively relaxed restrictions amid intense international pressure.

Many of Nepal's major donors have already suspended or have threatened to suspend international aid. India, Britain and the United States, major suppliers of arms to Nepal, have put a hold on military supplies since the royal takeover.


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