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Thursday, October 15, 2015, 12:16

Myanmar signs landmark ceasefire agreement

By Xinhua
Myanmar signs landmark ceasefire agreement

Map showing ethnicity in Myanmar. (AFP )

NAY PYI TAW - The Myanmar government and eight ethnic armed groups out of 15, involved in peace negotiations with the government, initiated the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord (NCA) here on Thursday, witnessed by local and international observers.

The signing of the NCA taking place at the Myanmar International Convention Center signals the near-end of more than six decades of civil conflict.

The eight armed groups are Kayin National Union (KNU), Kayin National Liberation Army(KNLA)-Peace Council, Pa-O Nationalities Liberation Organization (PNLO), All Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF), Chin National Front (CNF), Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), Democratic Kayin Buddhist Army (DKBA) and Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) / Shan State Army-South (SSA-S).

Ethnic groups, representing 40 percent of the 53 million population, have found themselves victims of military abuses and discrimination in areas spanning from health and education to road construction and access to electricity

Representing the government side were President U Thein Sein, two vice presidents Sai Mauk Kham and U Nyan Tun, Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Services Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing and his Deputy and Commander-in-Chief of the Army Vice Senior-General Soe Win, as well as speakers of both houses U Shwe Mann and U Khin Aung Myint.

The leaders of all eight armed groups were present.

Present on the occasion as invited international witnesses were from the United Nations, the European Union, China, India, Thailand and Japan.

Other invitees included government officials, foreign diplomats from 50 countries, political parties, including the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) and National Unity Party (NUP)  as well as civil society organizations.

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