ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Myanmar's Faltering Peace Process

Though the Thein Sein government in Myanmar has been working to institutionalise the peace process with ethnic armed minority groups, its efforts seem to fall short of the formal process the ethnic groups want. And the process of reconciliation has not been helped by Suu Kyi's ambivalent attitude.

The quasi-civilian government of President Thein Sein in Myanmar (formerly Burma) has taken steps to institutionalise the peace process with the ethnic minorities and armed groups representing them after it came to power. Thirteen ceasefire agreements have been signed within a year, which is no mean achievement. Many feel that this is the first time in 50 years that any government has seriously addressed the issues involving ethnic minorities, many of whom have raised armed groups and have been at war with the government in Yangon since the country’s independence in 1948.

The military junta under general Than Shwe worked out the first set of ceasefires with these ethnic armed groups in the 1990s through his smart military intelligence chief, lieutenant general Khin Nyunt. But all these ceasefires, except one, were based on “good faith” and “oral understanding”, signed with a handshake with the military intelligence. Only the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) had a written and signed document that promised a political dialogue once an elected government was installed.

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