“Ceasefire needs a lot more…”

The Karen National Union’s general secretary Naw Zipporah Sein and a member of the KNU’s Peace Committee said further talks would be needed with the Burma government representatives after yesterday’s meeting in Pa-an town, Karen State.

KNU general secretary Naw Zipporah Sein told Karen News.
“We signed an agreement with them [government] at the state level. This signed agreement is only that we agreed in principle. We need to have a lot more discussions about the politics involved in the detail.”

A 19-member delegation, led by General Mutue Sae Poe and Padoh David Taw, under the supervision of the KNU Peace Committee, met with representatives of the Burma government led by Railways Minister Aung Min -according to government staff a State level ceasefire agreement paper was signed.

During the ceasefire meeting, the KNU demanded 11 key points be agreed to – the Burma government stop military operations in ethnic areas, start a nationwide ceasefire as soon as possible, to guarantee the human rights and safety of civilians, to build trust, to plan development projects that have the full participation and decision making of local villagers, to immediately stop forced labor and to stop excessive taxation and extortion of villagers.

The KNU are also stipulated that the Burma government release all political prisoners, provide solutions to settle land right issues, to set out principles for a genuine peace process, to open a liaison office for peace talks, to allow unrestricted unarmed travel and movement in Karen State and to draw clear lines of controlled territory.

It was agreed by both sides at the Pa-an meeting In the state that they will continue to discuss the details of the ceasefire, opening a liaison office, allowing unrestricted unarmed travel and movement in Karen State.

The KNU leaders at the meeting acknowledged to Karen News that their delegation didn’t have a mandate to sign the ceasefire at this initial meeting and the KNU will release a media statement on the issue.

According to a KNU source at the Pa-an meeting, KNU delegates plan to continue their trip to Mon State, Pago (Pegu) Region and to the Burma capital Nay Pyi Daw.

A source told Karen News that the Burma representatives also signed a paper that agreed in principle to the KNU’s 11-key points and both delegations will open discussion within 45 days.

Naw Zipporah Sein said “We are welcome to government signing our [KNU] 11-key points, even if it is agreed only in principle.”

In 2011 the KNU held three preliminary ceasefire meetings with Burma government delegations in Thailand on October 9, November 19-20 and on December 21.

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