The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army held an ethnic nationalities seminar to exchange views and to assess the current political situation in Burma. The seminar was held at Sone Zee Myaing village, Karen State on June 15.
Brigadier General Moshay, the DKBA Deputy Chief-of-Staff told Karen News that although the government has made ceasefire agreements with most of the ethnic armed groups, the political situation has not progressed.
Brigadier General Moshay said.
“During the seminar, we discussed how to unify our ethnic groups and how to organize to have genuine political dialogue with the government. It is only the KIA [Kachin Independent Army] that hasn’t yet reached a ceasefire agreement with the government, but the situation of the ethnic groups that have reached ceasefire agreements have not yet moved to the political dialogue stage.”
General Moshay stressed that talks on how to move to the political dialogue level as soon as possible are needed to prevent the process getting stuck at the ceasefire stage.
The seminar was attended by 30 organizations, including government officials, the ethnic armed groups, the political organizations and the civil society organizations.
The DKBA Chief-of-Staff Brigadier General Saw Lah Pwe spoke to Karen News and said.
“All ethnic groups’ participation is needed in building a genuine peace with the Burma government. That’s why we organize and host this seminar. We invite all ethnic groups to participate.”
The 200 seminar participants include representatives from Kayan, Pa’O, Pa’laung, Chin, Wa , DKBA, KNU, KIO, BGF, the ABSDF, civil society and politics organizations from the Thai-Burma border, religious leaders, academics, media groups and other observers.
Speaking to Karen News, James Lwan Doung, deputy head of the Kachin Independent Organization’s Foreign Affairs Deparment said.
“We came to this seminar in the hope to gain peace. Peace is politics. Politics consist of a broad ideology. It is good that General Saw Lah Pwe started this. I hope to get a good result from this seminar.”
DKBA official’s sources confirmed that the seminar agenda items included an analysis on the current political situation in Burma, development projects, military affairs and the 2008 constitution.
Ko Bannek Tun, who represents both the 88 Student Generation and the Peace and Openness civil society organization told Karen News that ethnic issues are important and that political positions outside Hluttaw [parliament] is also important.
“There are many evaluation points made at the seminar that are happening in our country. Our idea is that if ethnic political issues are not handled we are not in a position to reach a real democracy. Another issue is that politics outside of the Huttaw system are crucial. That’s why we came to this seminar.”
The DKBA faction led by General Saw Lah Pwe refused to accept the government’s order to transform itself into the Border Guard Force under the control-of-the Burma Army. General Saw Lah Pwe attacked government positions in the town of Myawaddy in 2010, before signing a ceasefire agreement with the government on November, 2011.