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Nepal: Gyanendra to exit palace within a week
Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu | June 02, 2008 18:05 IST
Faced with a June 12 deadline, Nepal's ousted king Gyanendra on Monday assured the government that he will exit his Narayanhiti palace in Kathmandu within a week and live as a commoner, saying he is ready to make the "sacrifice for Nepalese people and permanent peace."
In the first contact between the government and the beleaguered former ruler since the 240-year-old monarchy was abolished on May 28, Gyanendra met Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula and other senior officials at the palace.
"Accepting the government's decision Gyanendra said he would leave the palace within a week," Sitaula told reporters.
"Gyanendra looked quiet and relaxed but not angry," said an official who accompanied Sitaula during the meeting.
The 60-year-old ousted monarch did not give any indication that he would resist the government order to move out, Sitaula said.
Gyanendra also sought government's help in finding alternative accommodation for himself and his family.
The government will provide necessary security arrangements for the king after his exit from the palace, the home minister said.
The former king told Sitaula that "if the Nepalese people and the country stand to benefit he is ready to make any sacrifice," the Nepalnews Web site reported.
Gyanendra said he has "made sacrifices for Nepalese people and permanent peace" by accepting the decision of the Constituent Assembly.
The government has said it will convert the palace into a museum. There will be grand celebrations at the palace a day after Gyanendra's exit, government sources said.
"The former king also denied rumours that he had taken assets out of the palace and destroyed many vital documents," according to Sitaula.
The government, which gave him a 15-day notice last week to evict the palace, has formed separate bodies to collect details of the palace assets and draw plans for their safety and that of the erstwhile royal family.
Gyanendra has told officials that he would fully cooperate with them in assessing property inside the palace and also transferring security personnel.
There are about 2,000 army personnel who are responsible for the security of the palace.
Sitaula had earlier told PTI that if Gyanendra wanted to stay at the Nagarjun Palace situated in the west of Kathmandu that has now been nationalised, the government may consider it until an alternative arrangement is made.