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US exhorts Burma to cease internal strife

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The United States on Monday expressed its “deep concern” over the Burmese military junta’s attacks on ethnic nationality groups and exhorted the regime to halt its military campaign and to start “genuine dialogue” with ethnic minorities.

The exhortation came in the wake of an estimated 30,000 people from Kokang from eastern Shan State, fleeing in fear to neighboring China since early this month to escape conflicts between Burmese Army and army of Northern Shan State Special Region 1.

“The United States is deeply concerned over the attacks by the Burmese Army in eastern Burma against several ethnic nationality groups, and we continue to monitor developments carefully,” Ian Kelly, State Department’s spokesperson told a regular press briefing on Monday.

The three days long fighting started on August 27 which killed at least 30 Burmese soldiers, policemen and rebels, according to state-run newspapers on Monday.

However, Kokang leader Peng Jia Xiang's statement said that nearly 200 civilians were killed in the two-day battle and three Chinese civilians were dead in artillery fire from Burmese Army.

Kelly said the conflict has reduced both stability and the prospects for national reconciliation in Burma, a country ruled by military dictators since 1962.

“We urge the Burmese authorities to cease its military campaign and develop a genuine dialogue with the ethnic minority groups as well as with Burma’s democratic opposition,” Kelly said.

Last week, Chinese authorities urged Burma to handle its internal conflicts in an appropriate manner to maintain peace and security along the border.

On Monday, scores of refugees reportedly returned to their homes inside Burma but sources on the Sino-Burma border said, thousands continue to remain in camps set up by Chinese authorities.

Clashes between the government troops and the Myanmar Nationalities Democratic Alliance Army, also known as the Kokang Army, broke its 20-year ceasefire agreement with the junta.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 01 September 2009 14:28 )  

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