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Politics

2 armed ethnic groups agree to join Myanmar ceasefire pact

Negotiations with other insurgencies remain priority for Aung San Suu Kyi

COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh -- Two ethnic insurgent groups in Myanmar said Tuesday they will sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, which would make them the first to join the pact under the government of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy.

Representatives from the New Mon State Party and the Lahu Democratic Union made the announcement after meeting with Suu Kyi, state counselor and de facto leader, and Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of Myanmar's military, in the capital city of Naypyitaw.

The New Mon State Party, one of the country's largest insurgency groups, is based on the border region with Thailand. A ceasefire there would help stabilize economic ties between Thailand and Myanmar.

The ceasefire agreement is intended to serve as a comprehensive framework for peace with all of Myanmar's 21 armed groups and a steppingstone toward political dialogue covering issues such as a level of autonomy for ethnic groups. Eight organizations signed on under the previous government.

Myanmar plans to hold the third Union Peace Conference with the armed groups soon. The New Mon State Party and Lahu Democratic Union are expected to sign the agreement then.

Though Suu Kyi positions peace negotiations with insurgent groups as one of her priorities, this would be her first concrete achievement in the area.

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