YANGON (dpa) – Leaders of Myanmar’s armed ethnic rebel groups met with President Thein Sein Monday, amid talks aiming for a nationwide ceasefire, but with some of the main groups not represented.
“The president reiterated his wishes to see the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement signed on upcoming Union Day on February 12,” said Aung Naing Oo, a senior advisor at the government-backed Myanmar Peace Centre.
Representatives of 13 of the country’s 16 rebel groups attended the meeting in the capital Naypyidaw, preceeded by a military parade to mark the 67th Independence Day on Sunday.
The talks were marred by the absence of any representative of the Kachin Independent Army, whose camp in the northern part of the country was shelled by government troops in November, killing 23.
The incident, which the army said was a warning shot gone astray, caused the umbrella organisation representing all rebel groups to pull out of talks that month.
Negotiations were rescheduled for December 22, but high-level KIA representatives did not attend and the talks were inconclusive.