- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 3, 2008

KATMANDU, Nepal | Ousted King Gyanendra broke his silence Monday, saying that he will voluntarily leave the royal palace because he “is ready to make any sacrifice” for the Nepalese people.

Nepalese media reported that the former king made the remark during his meeting with top palace officials and close aides inside the Narayanhiti Palace.

A local radio station quoted a top palace official as saying that the decision made by the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly was acceptable to the king.

Media reports say Gyanendra said he has “made sacrifices for Nepalese people and permanent peace” by accepting the decision of the assembly that abolished the monarchy and declared the country a federal democratic republic on Wednesday.

Phani Raj Pathak, press secretary to the former king, told The Washington Times that the “former king is also preparing to face the press sometime this week and make public his views regarding the decision of the Constituent Assembly.”

The assembly, which is dominated by the Maoist party that fought a decade-long insurgency before becoming a political faction in 2006, is charged with writing a new constitution for the Himalayan nation.

Mr. Pathak said Gyanendra would like to vacate the Narayanhiti Palace as soon as the government finds a house for him, adding that he is not interested in moving into Nirmal Niwas, Gyanendra´s former residence before he became king in 2001. The house is now occupied by his son Paras and his family.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula on Monday met Gyanendra and discussed the latter’s preparations for vacating the palace.

Mr. Sitaula said after meeting the former king, “He talked in a very simple manner, like a citizen talks to a government minister. I found a great change in him after the decision.”

Gyanendra became king in 2001 after a drunken prince gunned down most of the royal family before killing himself.

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