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Burma President Meets with Karen Rebels

Burma's President Thein Sein (L) shakes hands with representatives from the Karen National Union (KNU), including KNU General Secretary Naw Si Pho Ra Sein (2nd L, in purple) and KNU General Mutu Saipo (C), in Thein Sein's private farm house in Naypyitaw,

Officials say Burmese President Thein Sein met Saturday with members of a peace delegation from the rebel Karen National Union.

The meeting, which lasted more than an hour, was the first time the president had talked with rebel leaders since he issued a call for dialogue last August.

The KNU delegation has been in Rangoon for peace talks with government representatives over the past few days, but some of the delegates were flown to the administrative capital of Naypytaw Saturday for the talks.

On Friday, the KNU and government delegates met in Rangoon and signed a 13-point agreement on how to move a peace process forward.

The KNU's armed wing has been waging war against Burmese authorities since 1949. Western nations have demanded peace with rebel groups as a condition for easing political and economic sanctions against the Southeast Asian country.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.