Internally displaced people in Kachin state, Myanmar, receive aid. Photo: UN Myanmar

31 May 2013 ? Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the agreement reached between the Government of Myanmar and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), calling it a first step towards reconciliation in the country.

According to media reports, the seven-point plan reached by the two parties includes an agreement to a preliminary ceasefire. They also agreed to establish a political dialogue and hold discussions on resettling more than 75,000 people who have been displaced since fighting began almost two years ago.

?The Secretary-General notes the seven point agreement as a significant achievement that could lay the basis for a genuine process of national reconciliation in the countryHe commends the leaders of both delegations for their courage and perseverance. He also hopes this agreement will allow the two parties to address the concerns and needs of the people of Kachin State.,? Mr. Ban?s spokesperson said in a statement.

?He commends the leaders of both delegations for their courage and perseverance. He also hopes this agreement will allow the two parties to address the concerns and needs of the people of Kachin State.?

This is the first meeting between the Government and the KIO inside the country since conflict broke out in June 2011. Mr. Ban?s Special Adviser Vijay Nambiar was an observer at the talks on behalf of the UN, along with representatives from the Chinese Embassy and Myanmar?s ethnic nationality groups.

In January, the Government announced a unilateral ceasefire following a three-week offensive against ethnic Kachin rebels. A month later, the parties held talks in China, where they agreed to work on an overall framework to de-escalate the conflict.

?The Secretary-General underlines the continued support of the United Nations and his Special Adviser to the parties as they continue work towards de-escalating the conflict and toward a comprehensive political dialogue that could bring lasting peace to Myanmar,? the statement said.

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