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The Burmese government has reached what one observer said was an 80 percent consensus with the ethnic groups on a framework to implement a nationwide ceasefire agreement.
The news comes after a meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Sunday between the Internal Peace Making Work Committee (IPMWC) and a Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) representing the ethnic parties.
Hla Maung Shwe, an official from the Myanmar Peace Centre which has mediated talks between the two sides, said: “I believe the negotiations between the two sides are becoming more and more meaningful as they become more frequent. When they previously met in Rangoon following the Myitkyina talks, the NCCT stated that they had reached a 50 agreement on framework; this time around, they are more than 80 agreed in principle.”
The two delegations are due to meet again on 10 January ahead of scheduled talks between the IPMWC, led by the President’s Office Minister Aung Min, and the ethnic armed groups in eastern Burma’s Karen state capital Hpa-an on 24- 25 January. The armed groups are also holding an exclusive meeting between themselves in the same region on 20, 21 and 22 January ahead of the Hpa-an talks.
The NCCT consists of representatives from 13 ethnic armed groups and was formed at a meeting in the Kachin Independence Organisation’s Laiza headquarters in northern Burma on 2 November.