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Nepal's Maoists to join government

Story Highlights

• Formal announcement expected Saturday followed by swearing-in ceremony
• Maoists to get five ministries, said source close to to government
• Prime Minister Koirala's Nepali Congress party to get five ministries, source says
• Maoist insurgency left about 13,000 people dead in last decade
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KATHMANDU, Nepal (CNN) -- Former Maoist rebels will join an interim government under an agreement reached with Nepal's governing coalition after weeks of negotiations, according to a source close to the government.

The agreement comes four months after the Maoists signed a peace deal with the government ending a decade of violent insurgency during which about 13,000 people were killed.

A formal announcement is expected on Saturday, to be followed by the swearing-in ceremony in parliament.

"As per the agreement, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's Nepali Congress party will have five ministries, including the key ministries of defense, home and finance," the source said Friday. "The Maoists will have five ministerial berths in the 21-member cabinet," including the information and communication ministries, the source said.

The Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) will also have five ministries, including the foreign ministry, the source said.

In addition, the smaller parties of the present seven-party coalition will also receive ministerial berths, the source said.

This interim government's main task will be to hold elections for a constituent assembly that will decide the fate of the 238-year-old monarchy.

The agreement comes less than 48 hours before Koirala is to leave for the Indian capital New Delhi to participate in the summit meeting of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation. In addition to Nepal, the eight members include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and new entrant Afghanistan.

Last month the Maoists completed storing their weapons under the supervision of the United Nations, a precondition for them for to join the government. However, Maoists have continued abductions, intimidation and extortion amidst reports they have not registered all their weapons with the United Nations Mission in Nepal.

Last week, hundreds of Maoists clashed with the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) in southern Nepal, killing at least 24 people. (Full story)

Journalist Manesh Shrestha contributed to this report.

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