Kathmandu, November 22:

The British ambassador to Nepal, Andrew Hall, today met Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and handed over a letter from the British foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, in which Britian has congratulated political parties and the Maoists for reaching an agreement, a source close to Koirala said.

Beckett has also urged both sides to implement the agreement and respect the rule of law.

China, Norway, Japan, Switzerland and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Nepal, have also welcomed the accord.

Lena Sundh, representative of the OHCHR in Kathmandu, welcomed the agreement, terming it “the beginning of a transition to lasting peace in Nepal”.

A press release issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said: “We sincerely hope that all the concerned parties in Nepal continue to push forward the peace process.”

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland also welcomed the agreement.

Norway’s International Development Minister, Erik Solheim, said the signing of the treaty marks a turning point in efforts to achieve a peaceful, democratic and inclusive Nepal.

A statement issued by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, said Japan “values this agreement as it sets out a concrete course for the consolidation of democracy and the realization of lasting peace in Nepal.”