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Myanmar signs treaty with Wa rebels: State media

Myanmar's government signed a deal with ethnic rebels in the remote Wa region in the Shan state on Friday, according the Kyemon daily newspaper.

United Wa State ArmyEnlarge
Soldiers from the United Wa State Army patrol a near deserted street of Nandeng in the Wa region of Myanmar on Sept. 3, 2009. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Myanmar and the Wa ethnic minority army both signed a significant treaty, as the government continues to seek peace deals with the country's several rebel groups, state media reported on Saturday.

The Kyemon daily newspaper said the ethnic Wa guerrilla group, or the United Wa State Army, and a state peace delegation both signed a five point agreement on Friday.

In an attempt to ease tensions with the UWSA - a group believed to have around 30,000 fighters - the state agreed to meet with the rebels when military issues arose and the UWSA agreed not to secede, though rebels have for decades sought for increased autonomy.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has suffered a number of minority group rebellions since it gained independence from the UK about six decades ago.

Earlier this year, President Thein Sein's government, as part of its effort to reform the former junta-led nation, signed ceasefire agreements with the Kachin rebel group and Karen rebels.

The United States and Thailand have accused the Wa army of supporting a mass illicit drug trade, charges the Wa have denied since it banned opium growing in 2005.

According to the United Nations, Myanmar is one of the world's largest suppliers of opium, especially it's Kachin and Shan states, and is second only to Afghanistan.  

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/130713/myanmar-signs-peace-deal-wa-rebels