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UN chief hails Myanmar’s announcement of truce in Kachin

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday welcomed Myanmar government’s announcement about a ceasefire in Kachin and called on both sides to “make serious efforts to create conditions for sustainable peace” in the region.

Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesman that he has been following the various reports from the ground on the implementation of the ceasefire.

Myanmar government announced Friday unilateral ceasefire with the ethnic Kachin Independence Army (KIA), saying that the government troops will stop military offensive against the area of Lakyayan starting Jan. 19 at 06:00 a.m. (local time), according to a press release of the government aired by the state TV at night.

The unilateral ceasefire was offered as security with the government force members as well as with the Myitgyina-Bahmo highway have been in place, said the release.

Ban “calls upon both sides to make serious effort to create conditions for sustained peace in Kachin through enhanced confidence building measures and political dialogue,” the statement said.

“He also calls for renewed access to vulnerable civilian populations in the area to enable the supply of humanitarian assistance to them,” the statement said.

Armed conflicts between the government troops and the KIA escalated since the beginning of this year.

The government claimed that it has negotiated with the KIA for 11 times and the last talks took place in vain on Oct. 30, 2012 with the absence of military leaders from the KIA side to discuss important issues.

The government said that after the failure of the last peace talks, the KIA stepped up attacks on government forces which in return launched air strike against the KIA in the beginning of this year at point-771 hill.

According to official death toll, 35 government troops were killed with 190 others injured in an ambush by the KIA when the government troops sent food supplies to the area of Lajayan outpost.

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