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AP-Thailand Urges Myanmar Calm

Monday December 21 12:00 PM ET

Thailand Urges Myanmar Calm

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Fearing for the safety of its citizens, Thailand on
Monday urged neighboring Myanmar's military government and ethnic rebels to
contain any fighting to their side of the border.

Rebels from the Shan and Karen ethnic groups announced over the weekend that
they have joined forces to fight the Myanmar army. Intelligence reports
cited by the Thai army indicate that Myanmar is preparing for a major
offensive against the rebels.

In a statement, Thailand's Foreign Ministry urged all sides to respect
Thailand's sovereignty and said no armed group would be allowed to use Thai
soil to launch

More than 100,000 mostly Karen refugees from Myanmar, also known as Burma,
are living in camps inside Thailand that have served as bases for the ethnic
rebels. The refugees fled what they say is an ethnic cleansing campaign
conducted by Myanmar's military.

The Karen have been fighting for autonomy from the government in Yangon
since 1949.

Myanmar troops and their allies among the ethnic groups were accused last
year of raiding and burning several camps to destroy support for the Karen
National Union, the largest of the ethnic armies.