Myanmar president holds landmark talks with rebels

By REUTERS
April 7, 2012 14:48

 
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YANGON - Myanmar's president had a landmark meeting on Saturday with one of the country's biggest ethnic rebel groups, a mediator said, marking one of the biggest steps taken by a government seeking "everlasting peace" after decades of hostilities.

Thein Sein, a former infantry commander and heavyweight in the junta that ceded power a year ago, told a visiting delegation of the Karen National Union (KNU) that his government viewed the rebels as brothers rather than enemy with whom the army had fought since 1949.

The meeting in the capital Naypyitaw was the first time the reform-minded president had met rebel leaders since he issued a call for dialogue last August, embarking on a three-phase peace process with more than a dozen groups aimed at bringing them into Myanmar's new political system.

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