Early date of Myanmar peace conference concerns some groups

Some ethnic rebel groups in Myanmar are expressing concern that a critical peace conference with the government has been scheduled for too early a date, limiting the opportunities for all parties to participate and jeopardizing the chances of success.

State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's de facto leader, announced this week that talks will begin Aug. 31 on ending more than five decades of strife with ethnic minorities seeking greater autonomy.

Lamai Gum Ja of the Kachin Peace Creation Group said Friday that the ethnic groups need more time to prepare for the talks. He and several colleagues complained that the government set the date without consulting them, and that fighting continued between government troops and the Kachin even after the meeting was announced.