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Myanmar's aim of becoming a federalist state remains a dream

Ethnic strife and a reluctant military impede efforts to transform nation

TOKYO -- Myanmar has revived dreams of becoming a federalist state, led by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, whose father, Aung San, first floated the idea in 1947. But after 70 years, the country still faces considerable challenges in its quest to reconcile its Burman ethnic majority with an estimated 135 other ethnic groups.

While the world remains transfixed over the fate of 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees, Suu Kyi has been devoting more time on ending a festering civil war with ethnic rebel groups. In an effort to resolve the conflict -- a key goal to Suu Kyi's federalist dreams -- the government recently held the third session of the 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference in the capital of Naypyitaw.

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