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Myanmar's peace conference leaves talks on uncertain path

Much vaunted 'Panglong' talks made unexpected progress but revealed vulnerabilities and pitfalls

| Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos
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Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi (C) chats with Myanmar's president Htin Kyaw after opening ceremony of 21st Century Panglong conference in Naypyitaw on May 24.   © Reuters

By most standards -- and against very low expectations ahead of the event -- Myanmar's latest round of peace talks between May 24 and 29 made good progress. Following a deal brokered by China on the eve of the conference, many more armed groups came to Naypyitaw than had been expected. And on the final day, agreement was reached on 37 "principles" that are to form part of a future peace agreement, including a key provision that the state will be a federal democracy. 

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