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Myanmar's military 'must not launch offensives'

This is crucial if peace initiates are to be successful, says bishop from Kachin State

September 12, 2016

To allow peace initiatives greater chance of success, Myanmar's military should not launch any military offences against ethnic groups, said Bishop Francis Daw Tang of Myitkyina in Kachin State, reported Agenzia Fides.

"It seems that it will take six months to determine the next steps and develop a road map," to peace said Bishop Daw Tang following Myanmar's recently concluded peace talks, the 21st Century Panlong Conference held in Naypyidaw.

The key issue now "is to ensure that during this time the military do not launch offensives in areas of conflict," said the bishop.

"Much still depends on the military, the government should ensure that abuses are not carried out and the dignity of all is respected," he said.

"The ultimate goal for the church is to stop the conflict, establish lasting peace and guarantee equal rights to ethnic minorities in the framework of a federal system," said Bishop Daw Tang.

"In the diocese of Myitkyina we still have over 8,000 displaced who cannot return to their villages," he said.

"Caritas assists them, but we are also preparing for them the opportunity to cultivate the land, so they themselves can contribute to their livelihood," said the bishop who also expressed hope that "peace arrives as soon as possible, for the good of all."

The Kachin Independence Organization remains at war with Myanmar's military. It's been a five-year conflict in the Christian majority state, one that is considered the most severe of the four separate fights currently being waged in the Southeast Asian nation.

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