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Nepal's Maoist rebels to disarm and join interim govt

Nepal's Maoist rebels have signed an agreement to disarm their fighters and join an interim government.

The move is the latest step in a peace process that began last year after massive street protests forced King Gyanendra to restore democracy and end his authoritarian rule.

The Maoists have been fighting since 1996 to replace the monarchy with a communist state and effectively control most of the Nepalese countryside.

Under the new deal, they have agreed to lock up their weapons and confine their fighters under UN supervision in return for a place in the interim government.

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