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Retreading Myanmar's Path to Peace

Jun 21, 2016 | 09:16 GMT
Retreading Myanmar's Path to Peace
The leader of Myanmar's first freely elected civilian government in more than 50 years, Aung San Suu Kyi, hopes to unite the country's many disparate factions under a federalist political structure.
(NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)

Political violence in Myanmar predates the country itself. On the eve of colonial Burma's independence from the United Kingdom, a pair of hit men walked into the Rangoon Secretariat in July 1947 and gunned down what would have been the new country's leadership, headed by national hero Gen. Aung San. Five months earlier, at a conference in the Shan town of Panglong, Aung San and leaders from several of the country's ethnic groups had forged an agreement on a federalist structure for the new nation. The pact granted extensive autonomy to the country's ethnic minority-dominated border regions and paved the way for a provision in the nation's founding constitution to allow secession. But in the power vacuum that the assassinations created, the agreement fell by the wayside, and many ethnic groups took up arms against the central government. A comprehensive peace in Burma, now known as Myanmar, has been elusive...

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