Myanmar junta confirms ‘temporary ceasefire’ with rebels

Myanmar junta confirms ‘temporary ceasefire’ with rebels

Agreement to pause hostilities in northern border area comes after talks brokered by China

Members of the Bamar People’s Liberation Army patrol in the Sagaing Region of Myanmar in November. Another alliance of rebel groups that has been battling the military in Shan State says it has agreed on a ceasefire. (Photo: Reuters)
Members of the Bamar People’s Liberation Army patrol in the Sagaing Region of Myanmar in November. Another alliance of rebel groups that has been battling the military in Shan State says it has agreed on a ceasefire. (Photo: Reuters)

Myanmar’s ruling military confirmed on Friday that it had agreed to a “temporary ceasefire” with an alliance of ethnic minority armies at a China-mediated meeting.

“We have plans to further discuss and strengthen the ceasefire agreement,” junta spokesperson Zaw Min Tun told reporters.

“We will engage in further discussions between Myanmar and China to reopen the border gates.”

A leader of one of the rebel groups said earlier on Friday that the ceasefire agreement followed talks that involved an envoy from neighbouring China.

The military, which overthrew the elected government in 2021, has been battling rebels fighting to end its control of their regions since late October, with intense violence along the northern border with China.

Rebels have captured several outposts and the major commercial town of Laukkaing in Shan State on the border with China.

The joint offensive has posed the biggest battlefield challenge to the military since the coup and caused concern in China about the prospect of border trade disruption and a refugee influx.

In talks facilitated by a Chinese envoy Deng Xi Jin, the Three Brotherhood Alliance agreed to “cease fire without advancing further”, said a Ta’ang National Liberation Army leader, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the talks.

“From the (alliance) side, the agreement is to refrain from offensive attacks on enemy camps or towns. From the military side, the agreement is not to engage in attacks through airstrikes, bombardment or heavy weapons.”

The two other groups in the alliance, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Arakan Army (AA), did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the talks.

Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing met earlier this week with the new Asean special envoy as Laos takes over chairing the bloc, which has struggled to promote peace efforts in the country.

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