World, Asia - Pacific

Myanmar: Much-delayed peace conference set for May

UN chief invited to resumption of talks meant to end world's longest-running civil war

Myanmar: Much-delayed peace conference set for May FILE PHOTO

By Kyaw Ye Lynn

YANGON, Myanmar 

The government of Myanmar and ethnic rebel groups will resume peace talks next month as the country has been struggling to end the world’s longest-running civil war, the government said Tuesday.

The date for the second session of the Union Peace Conference, which has been delayed for three months, was set on May 24 after representatives from government and rebel groups met on Monday.

The Ministry of Information said on its website that the United Nations secretary-general is being invited to the opening of the five-day conference in the political capital, Nay Pyi Taw.

Since independence from Britain in 1948, Myanmar (then Burma) has seen over a half-century of armed conflict involving ethnic rebels.

Replacing the military junta in 2011, former President Thein Sein’s administration started peace talks with rebels, which led to the signing of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with eight rebel groups in October 2015. However, several major groups were holdouts.

Myanmar is still witnessing fierce fighting between certain rebel groups and the military although the Suu Kyi-led civilian government took power last March.

Of the country's 21 rebel groups, 17 attended the first session of the Union Peace Conference last August.

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