When Myanmar announced a cease-fire last month with one of the country’s most prominent rebel groups, images of longstanding enemies shaking hands across a table were beamed around the globe and touted as evidence of further reconciliation in a country emerging from decades of military dictatorship and interethnic strife.
Now, three weeks after the deal was announced, the leadership of the rebel group is denying that a cease-fire was signed.
“We can’t say there’s a cease-fire yet,” Naw Zipporah Sein, the general secretary of the Karen National Union, said in an interview. “We still need to discuss the conditions.”
There have been no reports of clashes between Karen rebels and government troops in recent weeks. But the defiant stance of the Karen leadership appears to be a significant setback for the government’s efforts to end the grinding civil conflicts that have divided the country for decades.