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Myanmar Offers Peace Deal to Kokang Rebels

FILE - A rebel soldier of Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) places a machine gun bullet belt around the neck of another soldier at a military base in Kokang region, March 10, 2015.

The government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, says it has offered a peace deal to Kokang rebels it has been fighting since February near the border with China.

Kyaw Ni Naing, a Kokang member of parliament who was part of the government delegation, says the deal was offered on Saturday by presidential aide Hla Tun.

"If they love Kokang and will also accept the peace deal terms offered by the president, we will be united as ethnic brothers and will work together for the development of the Kokang area," he said.

He added that the government is now helping displaced locals who fled the region during the four-month conflict return to their homes.

The rebels announced a unilateral cease-fire earlier this month, but VOA has not been able to reach the group to verify the government peace deal or if the Kokang will accept.

The Kokang rebels are of ethnic Chinese descent and have long operated on both sides of the border. Fighting between them and the government has left hundreds dead and forced thousands to flee.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Burmese service.