Yangon: Myanmar on Thursday signed a ceasefire with eight ethnic minority armies in a step towards ending decades of civil war, a move weakened by the refusal of several rebel groups to join the deal.
The truce is the fruit of more than two years of negotiations and was a key goal of reformist President Thein Sein ahead of November elections, which are likely to sweep his army-backed party from power.
In a lavish televised signing ceremony in the remote capital Naypyidaw, Thein Sein said the deal would give “an inheritance of peace” to future generations.
State-backed newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar said the agreement may herald a “fully fledged peace process that will end more than 60 years of civil conflict”. But hopes for a full nationwide ceasefire before the November 8 election crumbled recently after several rebel groups baulked at any deal without the inclusion of all insurgent forces.
Myanmar’s powerful army chief and rebel representatives in ethnic dress attended the signing, while representatives from China, India, the EU and UN were among the witnesses....