Political dialogue between Myanmar’s government and eight ethnic minority groups are taking place in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw, reports the BBC.
Some, if not most, of the ethnic minorities, are Christian, such as the Karen in the south. The Christian minorities expressed their hope for religious freedom reforms at the election in November of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy.
The five-day talks will cement the current leadership’s peace-building legacy, before handing over power to Suu Kyi’s party in March – the outgoing government signed a ceasefire agreement with armed groups in October. The rebel groups present at the talks are mainly from the South, where up to 5 million Karen live, and haven’t clashed significantly with the government for years.
Suu Kyi said ending the violence, which has plagued a horseshoe of border regions for decades, is the first priority of the new government. “We will have to build a peace that takes into account the rights of ethnic people, and most importantly we must be united. So let us seek out a real peace for our nation,” she said in a statement published on her official Facebook page.