Jan 13 - Myanmar's government signs a ceasefire with rebels in an effort to end one of the world's longest-running insurgencies. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Myanmar's government signed a ceasefire with ethnic Karen rebels on Thursday (112 January) in a move to end one of the world's longest-running insurgencies. The government and the 19-member Karen National Union agreed in principle to 11 points, signed two broad agreements to end hostilities between the military and the Karen National Liberation Army, and to start talks towards a political settlement to their 62-year-old conflict. The ceasefire could be a small step towards the lifting of two decades of sanctions imposed on Myanmar by the European Union and the United States which have made peace with ethnic militias a pre-requisite for a review of the embargoes. Peace talks have been held on six occasions since 1949 but no lasting agreement has been reached. Peace with the KNU is also good for Myanmar's economic interests. If the conflict resurfaces it presents a security threat that could disrupt construction of the 50 billion dollar Dawei Special Industrial Zone which will be Southeast Asia's biggest industrial estate when completed, and a major source of income for the impoverished country. Myanmar's army has been accused of repressing the Karens and other ethnic minorities through human rights abuses ranging from rape and forced labour to torture and murder.