Burma's military leader has accused foreign nations of trying to divide his country by stirring up racial conflicts.
In a speech published in Burma's state-run newspapers Monday, General Than Shwe says countries aiming to dominate Burma are trying to spark renewed conflicts between the country's ethnic groups.
The general's speech marked the 60th anniversary of Union Day. The day commemorates the 1947 agreement among Burma's ethnic minority groups that led to the country's independence from Britain a year later.
Burma has about 135 ethnic groups and several of them have been fighting for autonomy. The government has reached ceasefire pacts with some rebel groups in recent years.
Burma's opposition National League for Democracy also marked Union Day with a gathering and stressed the need for unity in Burma's future.
Information for this report is provided by AP.