TAUNGGYI, Myanmar – A draft national cease-fire deal was agreed in March, but whether the agreement will be signed is questionable, given that the government has refused to recognize six of the 21 ethnic armed groups as potential signatories. The government’s stance has caused a rift among the ethnic organizations. Some, including the powerful Karen National Union and the Restoration Council of Shan State – Shan State Army South, said in August that they would back the deal regardless of others’ involvement, but have since wavered. The Kachin Independence Organization, with an estimated 10,000 fighters, has said it will not sign the national cease-fire without all armed groups on board. If the Kachin were to opt out, any deal would be toothless. “You really need the Kachin involved for it to be comprehensive,” said a close observer of the negotiations, who did not want to be identified.
CHIANG MAI — The Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is raising political funds from some of her country’s most notorious crony businessmen, in the latest in a series of controversies surrounding the former political prisoner. Ms Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), has admitted receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds from companies owned by the reviled bosses, who amassed fortunes through their close relationships with the brutal junta that controlled Burma for almost 50 years.