Ban ki-Moon urges Myanmar rebels to join peace process

May 19th, 2012 - 12:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Yangon, May 19 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged Myanmarese rebels to end violence and join a government-led peace process.

About 50,000 have been displaced in the violence in Kachin state since June 2011 after the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) ended a 16-year truce with the government.

The decades-old conflict has created a major humanitarian crisis, as people continue to flee from their homes to avoid the violence. The group is fighting for an independent homeland.

The government last month constituted a team to restart negotations with the rebels, while President Thein Sein has appealed to the insurgents to join the peace process, a key condition set by the West for lifting sanctions on the country.

“The UN is following closely the situation on the ground,” Ban’s spokesperson told reporters. He added that during the secretary general’s recent visit to Myanmar, he was told by the government that it had “ceased offensives in Kachin”.

“While we have no confirmed information of the situation in the conflict areas. The secretary general calls on all parties to cease offensives and to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict there,” Mizzima News Friday quoted the official as saying.

About one-third of Myanmar’s 60 million people belong to ethnic minorities and many of them resent what they see as domination by the majority Buddhist community.

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