Ethnic Alliance says government’s ceasefire offer is unacceptable

The United Nationalities Federal Council said the recent letter from Burma’s President, Thein Sein’s announcing a countrywide ceasefire was unacceptable.

The letter urged the ethnic armed groups to get in touch with their regional/state level governments.
The UNFC’s responded by a letter addressed to President Thein Sein that stated that the government’s peace talks approach like this would not bring about any lasting change.

The UNFC’s letter pointed out that the government’s approach of dealing with each group separately was an attempt to divide the unity between the nationalities. The letter said ethnic groups had negative experiences in the past of bipartite dialogue failing to bring peace.

Naw Zipporah Sein, secretary general of the Karen National Union, and a founding member of the UNFC, said that President Thein Sein’s bipartite approach is divisive.

“By getting each state region to approach each ethnic group is an attempt to divide us. This is the same tactic as used in the past, we have held talks, but in the end there have never been any lasting results.”

The UNFC’s letter stated that the reason they rejected the government’s peace talk offer is that political crisis in each region or state level are caused by the same problems. The letter said the problems should be solved at a national level and the UNFC believe that only nationwide peace talks will solve the country’s problems.

The KNU’s M’s Sein, explained that the UNFC is standing by their agreed principles and they will not individually enter into peace talks. M’s Sein said all the ethnic nationalities are committed to resolve the political crisis together.

The UNFC letter pointed out that a solution to the country’s current problems, including a ceasefire, could be found if the government’s recently formed Peace Committee initiated talks with a team appointed by the UNFC’s and given responsibility and the authority to enter peace talks directly with the government.

The KNU said recent rumors that two representatives from Karen State government level approached them for peace talks were not true.

The UNFC stated that their political aims are to achieve equality and a federal union of Burma. The alliance also aims to help each other with military support against Burma Army offensives directed at its members.

The UNFC was reformed on May, 2011 with only six ethnic armed groups – the Kachin Independent Organization, the Karen National Union, the New Mon State Party, the Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army, the Karenni National Progressive Party and the Chin National Front.

Alliance members are linked to UNFC non-members organisations – the Palong State Liberation Front, Lahu Democratic Union, National Unity Party of Arakan, Wa Natioanl Organizaiton, Pa’o Natianl Liberation Organization and Kachin National Organization.

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