cease fireMyanmar (Burma) – Myanmar’s government signed a cease-fire agreement in February with ethnic Karen rebels in a major step toward ending one of the world’s longest-running insurgencies.

The talks, between officials and Karen National Union leaders, were part of efforts by Myanmar’s new, nominally civilian government to seek international legitimacy through democratic reforms after years of military repression.

The Karen group has been fighting for greater autonomy for more than 60 years, in a guerrilla campaign in eastern jungles that dates back to before Myanmar’s independence from the U.K.

Ending the long-running ethnic conflicts has been one of the key demands by Myanmar’s pro-democracy icon and Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

“Unless there is ethnic harmony it will be very difficult for us to build up a strong democracy,” Suu Kyi said in an interview with The Associated Press last week.

Courtesy of http://positivenewsus.org/editions/spr12/spr1202.html