MOULMEIN, Myanmar, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- An ethnic minority community from southern Myanmar won't try to break away from the country if it can secure equal treatment, a political leader said.
Min Ko Naing, a pro-democracy leader from the minority Mon community in the southern state that bears its name, spoke at a weekend peace conference in Moulmein, the state capital.
"For our ethnic people, no one would want to secede from a federal union if they saw benefit," he was quoted by Thai newspaper The Irrawaddy as saying Saturday. "All ethnic people would stay with the ... government if they could get equal rights."
The weekend conference was the first time the government let members of the Mon community discuss their political aspirations openly.
Myanmar is working to broker cease-fire agreements with the dozens of armed groups from the country's various minority populations. The Mons signed a peace agreement last year though two members of its armed faction were killed in July during a fight with national troops, the Thai newspaper said.
Myanmar peace negotiator Aung Min said there was no room for discrimination in the peace process.
"We need to have a nationwide political dialogue," he said. "Before we do this, we need to have a nationwide cease-fire agreement."