Myanmar to overhaul negotiators for ethnic peace talks

By REUTERS
April 29, 2012 11:28

 
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YANGON - Myanmar will overhaul its peace negotiating teams in a bid to settle festering armed rebellions with ethnic rebel militias following its failure to end a stubborn conflict in the country's strategic Kachin State, sources said on Sunday.

Myanmar President Thein Sein is planning to restructure the teams after a failure to make a breakthrough in six rounds of talks with Kachin rebels and their political leaders. Fighting between troops and militias has displaced more than 50,000 people since last June, two sources close to the peace effort told Reuters.

The reformist president, who appealed to dozens of ethnic groups in August to start talks, would bring in a vice president, parliamentarians, and top military figures as part of his three-stage plan for "everlasting peace" in a country plagued by decades of ethnic unrest.

"The two teams set up last year will be combined into one and the new team will comprise many members including senior army officers, parliamentary law makers and state chief ministers and will be led a vice president," one source said, requesting anonymity because the issue was highly sensitive.

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