British Minister Hugo Swire calls for peace in Myanmar

Jan. 29, 2014 at 11:43 AM

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Hugo Swire, British foreign minister for Asian affairs, said Wednesday he was frustrated to see the Myanmar state of Kachin in a state of disarray.

Swire Wednesday became the first British minister to visit Kachin since Myanmar gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1948.

"It is tragic that this beautiful state today remains blighted by conflict," he said in a statement. "I urged all sides to build on the momentum in the peace process towards a nationwide cease-fire."

Myanmar earned international praise for holding general elections in 2010. National security issues, however, have overshadowed some of its political reforms.

Myanmar's government is working on peace accords with the various armed ethnic groups across the country.

The Irrawaddy, a Thai news magazine, reports Myanmar officials have yet to sign a formal cease-fire agreement with the rebel Kachin Independence Organization, though a deal is under review.

Swire said his government has allocated more than $20 million in assistance to help address needs in the country during the next two years.

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