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Myanmar armed groups form ceasefire coordination body
Sunday November 3, 2013 11:57 AM, IANS

Rebel ethnic armed groups in Myanmar have formed a 13-member nationwide ceasefire coordination group to make a peace deal with the government, Xinhua reported citing an announcement of the Ethnic Armed Groups Conference Sunday.

A framework agreement on the peace deal, reached at the closing of the four-day conference Saturday in Laiza in Kachin state, is expected to be presented during further talks with the government's central peace-making group Monday in Myitgyina, the capital of Kachin state.

However, the armed groups, in a post-conference announcement, criticised the government for its continued military offensive against the armed groups-controlled areas amid talks.

A total of 17 ethnic armed groups signed an 11-point framework agreement among themselves at the closing of the four-day conference in the border town of Laiza in Myanmar's northernmost Kachin state for negotiations for a nationwide ceasefire deal with the government.

The agreement mainly called for holding a political dialogue with the government within months after the planned signing of a nationwide ceasefire agreement with the government.

The framework agreement also includes laying down a political road-map acceptable to both sides, keeping the promise for holding political dialogue, trust building and its implementation.

The Laiza peace conference of leaders of the ethnic armed groups, which began Wednesday, mainly discussed nationwide ceasefire, political dialogue and establishment of a federal union system.

The conference, organised by the Kachin Independence Organisation, had 17 other armed groups participating, including the United Nationalities Federal Council, the Kayin National Union, the Restoration Council of the Shan State Army (RCSS), the Democratic Kayin Buddhist Army and the New Mon State Party.

Of them, the RCSS failed to join the signing, while the United Wa State Army and National Democratic Alliance Army, based in Mongla in eastern Shan State, were absent.

However, the two absent armed groups promised to join the follow-up talks between the government's central peace-making group and the ethnic armed groups slated for Monday and Tuesday in Myitgyina.

The upcoming Myitgyina talks are expected to work out a comprehensive ceasefire paper for the final signing of a nationwide ceasefire accord, observers here said.

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