After weeks of intense fighting near the border with China, the Myanmar government on Friday announced what appeared to be a unilateral cease-fire in its offensive against ethnic Kachin rebels. The government also said it would pursue peace talks.
The announcement, which was made on state television during the main evening newscast, came only hours after Parliament approved a resolution calling for an end to a year and a half of fighting and as Myanmar's actions have come under increased international scrutiny.
The Myanmar military has intensified its campaign against the Kachin rebels since the end of December, and witnesses described frequent shelling in and around Laiza, the rebel base. The rebels had been losing territory almost daily.