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UN envoy lauds 'historic' Myanmar ceasefire as Government, armed groups build 'new levels of trust'

31 March 2015 – The latest ceasefire reached between the Government of Myanmar and 16 ethnic armed groups operating in the Asian country is "a historic and significant achievement," bringing to an end more than 60 years of conflict and hostilities, a United Nations envoy has declared.

"The United Nations welcomes this milestone in Myanmar's history and congratulates President U Thein Sein and his negotiators as well as leaders of the Ethnic Armed Organizations and the NCCT [Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team]," Vijay Nambiar, the UN Special Adviser for Myanmar, said in a statement today.

"We are deeply honoured and humbled to have been invited to observe the parties through their historic deliberations," he added.

After more than a year of negotiations, during which the UN and China functioned as observers, Myanmar's Union Peace Working Committee (UPWC) and NCCT agreed today on the text of a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) for the country, setting up the next stage in the peace and reconciliation process.

"The signing of an NCA is a first step towards a larger dialogue for settling the political and military issues that will pave the way for an inclusive and harmonious future for Myanmar," the statement continued.

"Today's agreement is a signal that new levels of trust, confidence and cooperation are possible between former enemies and that the seeds of change in Myanmar are beginning to sprout."

Mr. Nambiar added that while many concerns and difficulties would nonetheless remain on the ground in the country, the reaching of an agreement on the NCA text remained cause for celebration as it laid the groundwork for achieving "a genuine and lasting peace in the country."

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