Landmark major peace conference begins in Myanmar
Myanmar has entered a new chapter of peace with hundreds of delegates convening Wednesday at major peace talks aimed at ending the world's longest-running civil war.

Representatives from government, military, ethnic armed groups, political parties and civil society organizations are attending the opening of the Union Peace Conference in political capital Nay Pyi Taw.

The four-day conference is being witnessed by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon and international diplomats.

State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi has described the conference as a milestone in resolving longstanding armed conflicts in Myanmar.

"Therefore I would like to urge all stakeholders to be patience and honest in order to achieve our peace process,” Suu Kyi said in her opening speech.

The conference is the second most important meeting between the government and ethnic rebels in Myanmar’s history.

Of the country's 21 rebel groups, 18 are attending the Union Peace Conference, which is also named the 21st-Century Panglong after a historic meeting between the country’s independence leader Gen. Aung San and some ethnic leaders in 1947, which committed the country to a federal state.

Aung San is the father of Suu Kyi, who has long made peace and national reconciliation a priority for her National League for Democracy (NLD) government.

The talks are widely seen as a vote of confidence by rebels groups in the NLD -- the country’s first fully elected civilian government since the military took power following a coup in 1962.

Since Myanmar gained independence from Britain in 1948, it has seen over a half-century of armed conflict, with ethnic rebels embarking on a longstanding battle for greater autonomy and self-administration.

Last Modified: 2016-08-31 08:29:43
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