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State of emergency lifted in Nepal


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KATHMANDU, Nepal (CNN) -- Nepal's King Gyanendra has lifted a state of emergency that he imposed on February 1 after seizing control of the government

The royal palace announcement on Saturday -- made after the king returned from state visits to China, Indonesia and Singapore -- signaled a return to democracy in the Himalayan kingdom.

Gyanendra faced international condemnation when he imposed the state of emergency, dissolving the government and suspending civil liberties. He ended it two days before it was set to expire.

Flights into and out of the capital of Kathmandu, as well as communication lines, were shut down immediately after the king's national broadcast in February.

The king dismissed the government because leaders had failed to conduct parliamentary elections and end an insurgency that began in 1996.

Rebels inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong want to replace Nepal's monarchy with a Communist state.

Over an eight-year period, the insurgency has claimed more than 11,000 lives.

It was the second time in three years the monarch, who is the supreme commander of the 78,000-strong Royal Nepalese Army, had taken such a drastic move.

India, an ally of Nepal, had said no arms would be shipped there until the clampdown ended.

Among the leaders Gyanendra met at the African-Asian Summit in Indonesia last week was Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

At a news conference held by the king when he arrived home, Gyanendra said: "At the Asian-African Summit in Indonesia we presented our stance against terrorism, and the leaders of friendly countries supported us."

The king acceded to the throne in 2001 after his brother King Birendra was killed in a massacre at the royal palace.

CNN's Akhilesh Upadhyay contributed to this report.


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