Ethnic alliance claim government’s peace offer is ploy to destroy their unity

The United National Federal Council claim in a statement released this week that President Thein Sein’s peace offer to ethnic armed groups is only an attempt to break up the unity of the UNFC.

Naing Han Tha, general secretary of the UNFC said that the government peace offer is to divide ethnic alliance and it won’t lead anywhere.

“They [Burma government] claimed that as there are different ethnic States, the needs in each case are different. They approached individual member organizations of UNFC and we viewed this is an attempt to divide us. They want to meet UNFC members individually and make ceasefire agreement separately, and then will delay a genuine peace process by reaching individual [business] development agreements with each group. The end point is as they have written in their constitution – ceasefire groups will be turned into Border Guard Force or a militia group under the direct control of the Burma Army.”

UNFC members include Kachin, Karen, Karenni and Mon ethnic nationalities which all accepted to hold preliminary meetings to discuss ceasefire offers with representatives of the government. So far, these meeting have not had any success reaching a political resolution.

The UNFC statement pointed out that instead of resolving the ethnic political stalemate by political means, Burma’s government continues to use its military power to suppress the ethnic nationalities rather than offering to initiate a genuine peace strategy.

The UNFC said the government’s attempt to meet and reach ‘ceasefire agreements’ with individual organizations is not a sign of sincerity, but an attempt to divide the unity of ethnic groups and to weaken their struggle.

The UNFC statement mentioned that its members will hold talks according to the principles they have agreed to and if the government truly desires peace, the government should immediately stop its offensives in ethnic areas and resolve all political problems by political means.

The UNFC was initially formed on February 2011 with 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 – in November this year the UNFC was reformed with membership doubling to 12.

The Palong State Liberation Front, Lahu Democratic Union, Arankan National Council, Wa Natioanl Organizaiton, Pa’o Natianl Liberation Organization and Kachin National Organization are now all equal members of UNFC.

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