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After 60 years, Burma agrees to ceasefire with Karen rebels

By January 13, 2012

Burma (MNN) — Yesterday, over six decades of conflict were concluded with the signing of one ceasefire between Burma's government and the Karen National Union (KNU).

"Both sides agreed to a ceasefire, to open communication offices, and to allow passage through territories," reports BBC News.

Peace talks have been held multiple times over the last 63 years between Burma and the Karen, a group made up mostly of Christians who have been at the wrong end of genocide for years. Peace between Burma's government and the KNU have been an ongoing demand of the West if ties are to strengthen.

Vision Beyond Borders has been passionate about the plight of the Karen for years as they've watched them pour into refugee camps by the thousands. The news of a ceasefire was somewhat surprising, but VBB's Dyann Romeijn says some had been headed toward it.

"We have heard from the Free Burma Rangers who are on the ground there that they did send a letter to the government and ask if they could be a part of negotiations of trying to work toward a solution. It seems that God is working through them and other Christians on the ground that are working here. And hopefully there's some true change."

Romeijn is hopeful that peace will come. "It's all speculation at this point, but we are cautiously optimistic and always are encouraged whenever things can move in a positive direction."

If this is really an end to a sixty year struggle, though, it could mean a transfer of persecution to another people group, says Romeijn. VBB recently saw an influx of 30,000 refugees from Kachin State.

No matter what happens for the Karen or the Kachin, one thing is certain: God is moving in Burma. If the Karen are safe, Romeijn says it is only by the power of God through the consistent prayer of His people. And Burmese refugees all over are turning to Christ.

"Despite the suffering, despite the opposition, despite the persecution and the genocide, the Gospel continues to go forward," notes Romeijn. "And it's going forward with power."

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