Myanmar ethnic rebels deny attempting to derail peace talks

Ethnic rebel groups in northeastern Myanmar say their recent attacks on government forces were a response to military pressure and that they are still interested in peace talks.

Mai Aik Kyaw of the Ta'ang National Liberation Army said fighting in northern Shan State was continuing Thursday. He said the government has not asked for talks with the four guerrilla groups that began attacks Sunday, but if it does invite them, they are ready to participate.

The Kachin Independence Organization said earlier its forces were countering government army attacks and it didn't seek to derail the talks to end decades of fighting between the government and more than a dozen ethnic minority groups. The talks included them but excluded the others involved in this week's fighting.