Yangon: Myanmar on Friday held its highest level
peace talks so far with rebels from war-torn Karen state
following a tentative ceasefire agreement inked earlier this
Delegates from the political and armed wings of the Karen National Union (KNU) met government officials as part of
discussions marking the latest efforts aimed at ending one of
the world`s longest-running civil conflicts.
Immigration Minister Khin Yi told reporters on Thursday
night that preliminary negotiations in Hpa-an, capital of
Karen in the east of Myanmar, had covered codes of conduct for
troops on both sides.
"We want peace. They also want it. So it will be a
success," he said.
Myanmar considers the KNU, whose leadership is based in
Thailand, to be an illegal organisation. Its armed wing has
been waging Myanmar`s oldest insurgency, battling the
government since 1949.
Myanmar`s government signed a ceasefire deal with the
group in January as part of reformist moves that have also led
to the holding of a by-election on Sunday that was swept by
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party.
The KNU delegation plans to meet the democracy icon on
Sunday in what will be Suu Kyi`s first important discussions
as an elected politician.
KNU spokeswoman May Oo Mutraw said the group was keen to
assess the "attitude and commitment" of Suu Kyi`s National
League for Democracy (NLD) party to reconciliation efforts.
"Her belief, sacrifices and leading role are very
important for Myanmar," she said of the Nobel laureate, who is
largely well-regarded in minority areas, but is also seen as a
member of the ethnic Burman elite.
Civil war has gripped parts of the country since its
independence in 1948, and an end to the conflicts, as well as
alleged human rights abuses involving government troops, is a
key demand of the international community.