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Nepalese Government Agrees to Peace Deal with Armed Minority Group

The government of Nepal has reached a peace agreement with an ethnic minority group demanding increased rights and greater autonomy in the country's south.

The Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MJF) has organized strikes, transportation shutdowns, and demonstrations for increased representation in the government.

MJF Chairman Upendra Yadav says the group has canceled a series of planned actions following talks with the government that led to a 22-point agreement.

Peace and Reconstruction Minister Ram Chandra Poudel says the government will grant the group autonomy in certain areas and also expand their political and economic rights.

The MJF claims to represent Nepal's southern ethnic Madhesi, which accounts for more than one-third of Nepal's population.

Many Madhesis say they are overlooked in favor of people from the northern regions.

Last year, Nepalese officials signed a deal with Maoist rebels, ending a decade long insurgency. The Maoists are now part of the current interim administration.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP .