Nay Pyi Taw: A peace conference slated to bring together all ethnic minorities in Myanmar, aimed at resolving the armed conflicts will begin on August 31 in capital Nay Pyi Taw, officials said on Tuesday. According to The Global New Light of Myanmar daily, the date was announced by Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who is State Counsellor as well as Foreign Affairs Minister and the President’s office in the current Burmese government, and also the chairperson of the Central Committee organising the peace conference.
On October 15, 2015, the previous Burmese administration had signed an armistice with eight ethnic guerrilla groups, taking the first step towards formal peace talks. Seven armed groups, however, had rejected the accord while six others were not invited to the dialogue. Another ceasefire was agreed upon in November 2015 with the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army-North (SSPP/SSA-N), that is fighting in the eastern state of Shan, with around 4,000 fighters.
Greater autonomy is the main demand of nearly all ethnic minorities in the country, including Chin, Kachin, Karen, Kayah, Mon, Rakain and Shan communities, together representing over 30 percent of the country’s 51 million population. –IANS
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