Myanmar's current leader has called for face-to-face peace talks with the country's established ethnic rebel groups, as the military struggles to crush newer militias that have sprung up to fight the ruling council.

Myanmar has about 20 ethnic rebel armies – many of which control swathes of remote border territory – that have fought each other and the military for decades over the drug trade, natural resources and autonomy.

Some have condemned the ouster of the previous civilian government and offered shelter and weapons training to "People's Defence Forces" (PDF) that have sprung up since the military took over state duties, and which analysts say have surprised the ruling State Administration Council (SAC) with their effectiveness.

"I invite leaders of ethnic armed groups for dialogue," SAC chief Min Aung Hlaing said in an address on state media, calling for representatives to register by May 9 and adding that he would meet them personally.

"We are all going to discuss honestly and openly … for the people to be able to enjoy the essence of peace and development," he said, without giving a date for proposed talks.