Myanmar resumes ceasefire talks with rebels

2014-12-22 09:59
Myanmar violence. (Ye Aung Thu, AFP)

Myanmar violence. (Ye Aung Thu, AFP)

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Yangon - Myanmar and ethnic rebels on Monday resumed ceasefire talks that were postponed in November when the army shelled a Kachin rebel training camp in the north of the country, killing 23.

Top-level representatives were not due to attend the talks in Yangon, which were expected to focus on the shelling, an official said.

"Unless there is a good explanation for the attack, it might be very difficult to move forwards on the peace talks," said Khun Okka, member of Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT).

The NCCT, an umbrella group of several ethnic armed factions, postponed the seventh round of talks planned for November after the army's assault on the training camp near the border town of Laiza, the headquarter of Kachin Independent Army (KIA) on 19 November.

The military says the artillery shell was just a warning shot which inadvertently hit the camp.

Conflicts with several ethnical rebel groups have intensified since peace talks collapsed between the government's Union Peace Working Committee (UPCW) and NCCT in September.

In early December, ethnic Kokang rebels of the self-proclaimed Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army killed seven soldiers in north-eastern Myanmar's Shan State, news reports said.

The prospects of meeting the hoped-for time frame for a Nationwide Ceasefire Accord were poor, another NCCT official said Monday.

"It's impossible for us to sign the NCA this year, also in early next year as mutual trust still at a low level and we still have a lot to be discussed," the group's deputy leader Naing Hanthta told dpa.

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