Nepal's prime minister has promised to call elections for an assembly to draw up a new constitution for the Himalayan nation.

The speaker of the parliament, Chitra Lekha Yadav, made the proposal on behalf of the country's ailing prime minister, Girija Prasad Koirala, during Friday's first session of parliament in the last four years.  Lawmakers are to meet Sunday to discuss the proposal, as well as another to hold talks with Maoist rebels and declare a ceasefire.

Leaders for the Maoist rebels declared a unilateral ceasefire Thursday after Mr. Koirala assured them parliament would begin the process of creating a new constitution and redefining the role of the country's monarchy.

Meanwhile, the United States Senate has passed a resolution expressing support for the reconvening of Nepal's parliament and for an immediate, peaceful transition to democracy.

The Himalayan country has been without a government since last February, when the king declared a state of emergency and dissolved it due to what he said was a lack of progress in addressing the Maoist insurgency.

Nepal's Maoist rebels have been fighting for 10 years to establish a communist state.  At least 11,000 people have been killed in attacks and violent clashes during that time.

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