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Myanmar Govt, Rebels Sign Peace Pact

The government of Myan­mar and representatives from 16 major ethnic rebel groups have signed a draft cease-fire ac­cord that aims to end decades of armed conflict.

Speaking at Tuesday’s signing in Yangon, President Thein Sein praised the framework nation­wide peace deal as the first step to­wards holding political dialogue with the rebel groups.

Before a final deal is signed, the rebels first plan to hold a confer­ence to finalize the terms. No date for the conference has been set.

Even still, the United Nations praised the draft of the Nation­wide Ceasefire Agreement, or NCA, as a “historic and signifi­cant achievement.”

“The signing of an NCA is a first step towards a larger dia­logue for settling the political and military issues that will pave the way for an inclusive and harmo­nious future for Myanmar,” U.N. Special Adviser Vijay Nambiar said in a written statement. “To­day’s agreement is a signal that new levels of trust, confidence and cooperation are possible be­tween former enemies and that the seeds of change in Myanmar are beginning to sprout.”

Myanmar, also known as Bur­ma, has seen more than 65 years of clashes between the govern­ment and rebel groups trying to secure autonomy in many border regions.

Since 2013, the military-dominat­ed government and the rebels have held seven rounds of peace talks. The government hopes to have a final deal in place by the end of the year.

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