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Divergent strategies behind Myanmar's peace process

Peace efforts in Myanmar complicated by multiple stakeholders with different agendas

| Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos
Better times: ethnic representatives at Myanmar's August 2016 peace talks (Photo by Aung Naing Soe)

On May 24 the Myanmar government, led by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, will convene a third meeting of ethnic, military and government leaders under the banner of the Union Peace Conference in the capital, Naypyitaw. The first such gathering was held under the previous, military-backed transitional government in January 2016; the second took place last August, under the NLD administration.

These gatherings were mandated by the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, which was signed by the previous government, Myanmar's armed forces and eight of the country's 20-plus ethnic armed organizations on Oct. 15, 2015. The gathering is sometimes referred to as the "21st Century Panglong" peace conference -- in reference to a 1947 treaty agreed in the small town of that name, between Aung San Suu Kyi's father and leaders of some of the country's minority communities, which paved the way for Burmese independence from Britain the following year.

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