Myanmar state media confirms pact with rebel group

Last Updated: Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 17:02

Yangon: Myanmar state media on Sunday confirmed an initial ceasefire deal had been reached with one of the country`s major ethnic guerrilla groups.

The pact was signed at a ceremony on Friday by representatives of the Shan State Army South and the local government in the northeastern state, the New Light of Myanmar said, after a mediator said of the pact yesterday.

The "initial agreement" was designed "in order to build
peace at the invitation of the government of the Republic of
the Union of Myanmar," and was witnessed by national
ministers, the English-language paper said.

The ceasefire, signed in the Shan State capital Taunggyi,
was the latest sign that the new Army-backed regime is
reaching out to its opponents in Myanmar, which has made a
series of reformist moves in the past year.

Civil war has wracked 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.

The Shan State Army South has been one of the biggest
rebel forces still battling the government, with thousands of
guerrilla fighters mostly stationed near the border with
Thailand.

Myanmar`s leaders last month held peace talks near the
Thai-Myanmar border with several ethnic groups fighting a
long-running struggle for autonomy and rights, according to
people involved.

"They (the Shan State Army South) are the first group who
signed the peace agreement among the five groups that we have
met," Hla Maung Shwe, founder of the civil society group
Myanmar Egress, said after witnessing the pact.

Mediators were also trying to reach peace agreements with
the Karen National Union, the Kachin Independence Army, the
Chin National Front and the Karenni National Progressive
Party, he added.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 17:02

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