World

Myanmar government, rebel groups sign draft cease-fire agreement, fighting continues

  • Myanmar President Thein Sein attends a signing ceremony of draft of the Nationwide Cease-fire Agreement (NCA) between representatives of the Myanmar government and armed ethnic groups Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar's government and 16 ethnic armed groups agreed Tuesday on the wording of a draft nationwide cease-fire agreement aimed at ending decades of civil unrest. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

    Myanmar President Thein Sein attends a signing ceremony of draft of the Nationwide Cease-fire Agreement (NCA) between representatives of the Myanmar government and armed ethnic groups Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar's government and 16 ethnic armed groups agreed Tuesday on the wording of a draft nationwide cease-fire agreement aimed at ending decades of civil unrest. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)  (The Associated Press)

  • Myanmar President Thein Sein is seated at center while representatives of the government and armed ethnic groups sign an agreement on the draft of a nationwide cease-fire agreement, Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar's government and 16 ethnic armed groups agreed Tuesday on the wording of a draft nationwide cease-fire agreement aimed at ending decades of civil unrest. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

    Myanmar President Thein Sein is seated at center while representatives of the government and armed ethnic groups sign an agreement on the draft of a nationwide cease-fire agreement, Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar's government and 16 ethnic armed groups agreed Tuesday on the wording of a draft nationwide cease-fire agreement aimed at ending decades of civil unrest. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)  (The Associated Press)

  • Representatives of Myanmar government and armed ethnic groups applaud as they listen to Myanmar President Thein Sein, top, speak during a signing ceremony agreeing on a draft cease-fire agreement, Tuesday, March.31, 2015, in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar's government and 16 ethnic armed groups agreed Tuesday on the wording of a draft nationwide cease-fire agreement aimed at ending decades of civil unrest. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

    Representatives of Myanmar government and armed ethnic groups applaud as they listen to Myanmar President Thein Sein, top, speak during a signing ceremony agreeing on a draft cease-fire agreement, Tuesday, March.31, 2015, in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar's government and 16 ethnic armed groups agreed Tuesday on the wording of a draft nationwide cease-fire agreement aimed at ending decades of civil unrest. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)  (The Associated Press)

Myanmar's government and 16 ethnic armed groups have agreed on the text of a draft nationwide cease-fire agreement aimed at ending decades of civil unrest.

Though lauded as a significant step — the opposing sides have tussled over wording and rights over natural resources for months — fighting between the army and two rebel factions in northern Myanmar highlight the challenges still ahead.

President Thein Sein appeared briefly at Tuesday's signing. He said he was happy a single draft had been agreed upon.

Specifics were not released, however, and it remains unclear when a final agreement will be inked. The government wants that to happen before elections at the end of the year.