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Karen National Union Says Much Effort Still Needed For Real Peace With Burmese Junta - 2004-01-26


Burma's main rebel group, the Karen National Union, says much work has to be done before a firm peace agreement can be reached with the military government.

The rebels issued a statement to that effect Monday, adding that a cease-fire worked out between the two sides needs further discussion. This was in contrast to an earlier statement by the Burmese government, which praised the cease-fire as the first step toward national unity, solidarity and prosperity.

A Karen delegation met for six days last week with Burma's military leaders in Rangoon. The two sides are said to have agreed to meet again within a month.

The Karen statement Monday noted the importance of continuing discussions between the two sides.

The Karen National Union has been fighting for more than 50 years to establish an independent state in eastern Burma for ethnic Karens. The insurgency has been at a low level since the mid-1990's, when major government offensives greatly reduced the rebels' power.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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