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Nepal's government has decided to ask the United Nations to continue a peacekeeping mission in the country for another six months, an official said Friday.

All major political parties agreed to seek the UN extension but a formal request to the world body has yet to be made, Transport Minister Ramesh Lekhak said.

The UN's peace mission was established in January 2007 for one year and extended for six months earlier this year after communist rebels gave up their armed revolt and joined mainstream politics.

Lekhak said with the peace process going smoothly, the government would ask for a smaller UN mission to stay in the country for the next six months.

UN arms monitors still keep watch over thousands of former rebels who have been staying in camps with their weapons locked up in metal containers.

The UN team also monitored the April 2008 election of a Constituent Assembly that is charged with rewriting the constitution.

The ex-rebels emerged as the largest political party in the April election but failed to secure a majority. They are set to lead a new coalition government but so far have not been able to reach agreement with other political parties.

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