Myanmar’s government signed a ceasefire pact with eight armed ethnic groups after two years of peace talks, officials said Thursday. The government praised the agreement as a step toward peace to end more than six decades of fighting at a ceremony in the country’s capital, Naypyidaw. However, seven of the 15 rebel groups involved in negotiations refused to sign the agreement, including the powerful Kachin Independence Army and United Wa State Army, which have two of the largest militias. Ethnic armies have been fighting for more autonomy since the country first gained indpendence from Britain in 1948. The agreement, which does not require the groups to disarm, comes just before the Nov. 8 general elections for a new parliament.
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