Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has issued what she calls an "earnest appeal" for the government and ethnic groups to begin immediate peace talks.
In an open letter made available to VOA's Burmese service Thursday, Aung San Suu Kyi also says she is prepared to assist the peace process to the best of her ability.
The letter is addressed to President Thein Sein and organizations representing the Kachin, Karen, Mon and Shan ethnic minorities. Government forces have been waging a military offensive against strongholds of the ethnic armies for the last several weeks.
Aung San Suu Kyi says in her letter that ethnic harmony is of "utmost importance" to Burma, and that all sides will suffer if force is used to settle the conflicts. She says that only when peace is achieved on the basis of mutual understanding and respect can the country successfully strive for development.