Yangon, May 18 - A high-level peace group headed by President U Thein Sein has been formed in Myanmar to carry out peace negotiations with ethnic armed groups in the country, the presidential office website said Friday.
The 11-member group includes Vice Presidents U Tin Aung Myint Oo and Sai Mauk Kham, two speakers of the two houses of the parliament U Shwe Mann and U Khin Aung Myint, Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services, Minister of Home Affairs, Defence Minister, Border Affairs Minister and Attorney-General, Xinhua reported.
The new government's peace initiative is being carried out in three phases -- the first phase is to ensure ceasefire, set up liaison offices and travel without holding arms to each other's territory.
The second phase is about confidence building, holding political dialogue, implement regional development tasks in terms of education, health and communication.
The third phase involves signing of agreement for eternal peace in the presence of the parliament represented by nationalities, political parties and different walks of life.
The formation of the group has been officially disclosed for the first time.
The Myanmar government, at the same time, has also formed a 52-member Peace-Making Work Committee with Vice President Sai Mauk Kham as its chairman.
So far, 12 ethnic armed groups have reached preliminary peace pacts with the government at state or central levels since President U Thein Sein announced offering of peace talks with ethnic armed groups in August 2011.