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U.N. tells Myanmar to resolve Kachin row

Feb. 8, 2013 at 10:18 AM

NEW YORK, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- All parties to the conflict pitting Myanmar forces against Kachin separatists are called on to make a genuine effort at peace, the U.N. secretary-general said.

Myanmar in January announced a unilateral cease-fire following an escalation of conflict with rebel forces in northern Kachin state. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement from his office, welcomed word that negotiators were working on a framework to calm regional tensions.

"The secretary-general urges the parties to continue their efforts toward genuine and sustainable peace in Kachin and hopes that the latest developments would result in a silencing of the guns in Myanmar for the first time since its independence," the statement read.

U.N. special envoy on human rights Tomas Ojea Quintana arrives Monday in the region to assess conflict in Kachin state and other national challenges.

"I will be lending my voice to calls for a cease-fire and progress in addressing minority issues," he said in a statement.

World leaders have pressed for an easing of sanctions against Myanmar in response to political reforms that began with general elections in 2010. The status of political prisoners, censorship and simmering conflict in the country known formerly as Burma have sparked renewed concerns, however.

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