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Burma ceasefire: troops ordered to suspend attacks on ethnic militias

As military negotiates peace deals, offensives are halted
Burma ceasefire 2012Enlarge
PANWA, MYANMAR: An ethnic Kachin militia soldier on guard in Kachin State, Burma, officially known as Myanmar (CHINA PHOTOS/AFP/Getty Images)

All attacks on armed ethnic militias have been suspended in Burma, AFP reports.

The Burma ceasefire is hoped to hold as the government negotiates peace deals and an end to its messy civil wars.

If Burma (officially known as Myanmar) can draw down its nasty internal conflicts, considered among the world's most intractable, even hardline skeptics will have to concede that the country's ongoing wave of reforms is legit.

Steps towards peace with ethnic rebels are playing a major role in warming U.S.-Burma ties. The parade of tough-on-Burma U.S. politicians traveling to the once-reclusive state appears never ending.

US Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, among the most vociferous advocates of tough Burma sanctions, was seen this week shaking the Burmese president's hand and hailing him as a "genuine reformer," reports the Irrawaddy, an outlet run by Burmese exiles.

Will the ceasefire hold? This time, perhaps, it will.

But armed rebels, who enjoy the sympathy of Western diplomats, have been burned before when previous ceasefires with Burma's army broke and killing, village raids and forced labor resumed.