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Ban Ki-Moon Congratulates Nepal On First Assembly

Ban Ki-moon congratulates Nepal on Constituent Assembly's first meeting

28 May 2008 - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today congratulated the people of Nepal on the "historic" first meeting of the Asian nation's Constituent Assembly.

"The people of Nepal have clearly spoken for peace and change through the 10 April Assembly election," Mr. Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson.

He encouraged all parties to continue cooperating and to form a new government as soon as possible.

More than 500 Assembly members took their seats today, overwhelmingly voting - 560 votes in favour to four against - in support of a motion to amend the Interim Constitution, proclaiming Nepal a republic and formally ending the 240-year monarchy.

Today's inaugural session was chaired by Kul Bahadur Gurung, the Assembly's oldest member, while Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala addressed the body after a two-minute-long silence in remembrance of martyrs.

Adding his congratulations to the Assembly today was Ian Martin, the Secretary-General's Special Representative to Nepal.

"The United Nations is proud to have assisted in the election of the most inclusive body Nepal has yet known," he said in a statement.

He added that the "democratically-elected representatives have the solemn responsibility to prepare a new constitution as well as to act as an interim legislature during this next important phase of Nepal's peace process, and to fulfil the people's aspirations for sustained peace, economic and social progress, democracy and human rights."

Nepal's elections last month followed a 2006 peace accord between the Government and Maoist rebels which ended a decade-long civil war that claimed an estimated 13,000 lives.

ENDS

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