Little hope for immediate national ceasefire

In a rare statement read out on the national state-controlled television last week, Burma’s government urged ethnic groups engaged in armed conflict to contact regional governments to start the process for ceasefire talks. Saw Khar Su Nyar reports.

Naing Han Tha, secretary general, of the newly formed ethnic armed groups alliance, United Nationalities Federal Council, said the Burma government would not accept a nationwide ceasefire agreement as outlined by the Kachin Independent Organization.

Naing Han Tha told Karen News the government approach to the well-armed Kachin fighters was a deception.

“The government is not sincere. If they get a ceasefire agreement with the Kachin, it would allow them to intensify their operations against the Karen, Karenni, Shan and other ethnic armed groups.”

In early August, KIO representatives and government officials, from the state level, met unsuccessfully for a second round of discussions about the conditions of a ceasefire agreement.

Naing Han Tha pointed out that the state level mandate is different from those at the central level. This situation leaves any ceasefire agreement without the approval of any national government authority rendering any agreement ineffective.

During the meeting, Kachin delegates were led by the KIA’s Vice Commander in Chief, Major General Gon Maw, delegates of the government were represented by Kachin State security and border affair minister Colonel Than Aung and as a neutral bridge between the two sides, U Hsin Wa Naung.

The KIO was founded in 1961 and since 1994 had a ceasefire agreement with the military government for 17 years. On June 9, 2011, the ceasefire agreement was broken when fighting continued between the Kachin Army and the Burma Army.

A press release issued by a Kachin relief group, estimated that as a result of the conflict as many as 20,000 villagers fled from their homes.

The KIO is a member of UNFC that was reformed on May, 2011 with only six ethnic armed groups.

The political aims of UNFC 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 the members.

The members of the UNFC are Kachin Independent Organization, Karen National Union, New Mon State Party, Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army, Karenni National Progressive Party and Chin National Front.

The alliance member are also linked to non-members – 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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