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Myanmar Army blames ethnic groups for stalled peace talks

AFP  |  Naypyidaw 

military officials today said stalled peace talks were "drowning" the country, blaming ethnic armed groups for the fighting that continues to rage in the country's northern borderlands.

Civilian leader Aung San has said that making peace is a top priority for her administration, but she shares power with the military, which has fought ethnic insurgencies for decades.

At the start of a third round of Suu Kyi-led peace talks in the capital Naypyidaw today, Myanmar's commander-in-chief suggested ethnic groups were responsible for the stalled peace process that he said was "drowning our country".

"I would like to urge you to wipe out the civil armed conflicts that hinder the development of the country," he said.

told AFP that ethnic militias were not doing enough to staunch ongoing conflict, saying they "need to control their people". "If their people have no discipline, problems can happen," he said.

The six-day peace talks are an attempt by Suu Kyi, who came to power in 2016 after landslide elections, to bring more ethnic groups into a ceasefire accord.

Ten groups are now signed up but at least seven, including some of the largest and most influential, are holding out, with saying today they were "always welcome" to join.

Progress has been hampered by continued clashes between the powerful military and armed insurgents fighting for more autonomy in northern and Shan States.

The grinding conflicts play out away from the more prominent global headlines generated by violence in the country's west, where the has driven out some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims since August.

More than a third of Myanmar's townships are affected by unresolved conflict, according to a 2017 report from the

Some of the fiercest clashes are happening in Myanmar's northernmost State, where more than 100,000 people have been displaced by violence.

Independence told reporters as he arrived at his hotel yesterday that one of the aims of the conference was to restore basic communication channels with the government. "We hope fighting will be decreased.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, July 11 2018. 14:45 IST