YANGON: Mediators trying to broker a peace deal between the military and ethnic minority rebels in northern Myanmar on Saturday appealed to Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to help end the bloody conflict.
The military's use of air strikes against the rebels has stoked international concerns about a civil war that has overshadowed widely praised political reforms seen since the end of junta rule in 2011.
"Aung San Suu Kyi also has responsibility to implement ethnic peace," Yup Zaw Hkaung, a local businessman and peace negotiator in the Kachin state capital Myitkyina, told AFP by telephone.
"When she came to Kachin State to campaign for votes, she talked about peace. She cannot abandon Kachin," he said, adding that neither the opposition leader nor President Thein Sein had replied to letters asking for help.
"The fighting has been escalating," Yup Zaw Hkaung said.
"We are urging dialogue as soon as possible. People are in big trouble."
He said his Peace Creation Group, a mediation team formed with three other local businessmen, wanted to meet Thein Sein face-to-face to discuss the conflict with the former general, whose office said in December 2011 he had ordered an end to military offensives against the rebels.
"As air strikes with jets have been used in the attacks, hatred between the two sides could be growing," Yup Zaw Hkaung said. "We assume that the military is fighting based on the decision of the union government."