Myanmar talks peace in Chiang Mai

CHIANG MAI - Myanmar's government on Wednesday held peace talks with a federation of ethnic groups to try to resolve issues including the conflict in the northern state of Kachin.

  • Published: 20/02/2013 at 08:44 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

The United Nationalities Federal Council, which includes about a dozen ethnic groups including the Kachin, met Minister of the President's Office Aung Min and other officials in Chiang Mai.

In a brief statement following the meeting, they said the "frank and friendly" talks aimed to map out a framework and timeframe for political dialogue, and pledged to hold another round of discussions within two months.

Myanmar's reformist government has reached tentative ceasefires with a number of ethnic rebel groups since taking power in early 2011. Several rounds of talks with the Kachin rebels have failed to reach a breakthrough.

The government held fresh talks with the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) in China earlier this month, with both sides agreeing to try to reduce military tensions and continue dialogue.

The Kachin, who are fighting for greater autonomy, say any negotiations should also address their demands for more political rights.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in Kachin state since June 2011, when a 17-year ceasefire between the government and the KIO's armed wing, the Kachin Independence Army, broke down.

Last month the government announced a unilateral halt to its offensive against the Kachin but rebels accused the military of flouting the ceasefire.

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