General Baw Kyaw Heh Accuses Government Of ‘Dirty Politics’

The Karen National Union (KNU), a leading ethnic armed and political organizations currently in peace talks with the Burma government, has been giving out mixed signals about a nationwide ceasefire that is being pushed by the government Minister U Aung Min.

Naw K’nyaw Paw, the Secretary of the Karen Women Organization (KWO), interviewed Lieutenant General Baw Kyaw Heh, the Vice Chief-of-Staff of the Karen National Liberation Army, to get his views for Karen News on a number of critical issues including the proposed ‘nationwide ceasefire’.

General Baw Kyaw Heh explained to Naw K’nyaw Paw that a nationwide ceasefire is nothing more than a tactic to split ethnic people.

“The Nationwide ceasefire agreement currently being promoted by Minister Aung Min and the Myanmar Peace Center is a hoax designed to divide and rule the ethnic nationalities.”

The government seems intent on pushing ahead with the signing of nationwide ceasefire agreement, even as serious fighting continues in Kachin and northern Shan State.

A government minister involved in the peace talks stated that the government would leave the ‘book open’ for those groups who do not want to sign an agreement now. General Baw Kyaw Heh was scathing in his response to the Minister.

“It is a joke to say that they [government] would leave the ‘book open’ as though we are supposed to be signing a guestbook.”

When asked if he supported the current “peace process?” General Baw Kyaw Heh stressed that the Karen want a genuine peace.

“We are seriously committed to a real and sustainable peace. Who would want peace more than we do?”

General Baw Kyaw Heh said the government should focus on the business of securing a genuine peace instead of announcing ad-hoc strategies designed to get media attention and to confuse the international community.

“The KNLA has already announced its 8-point resolution related to a nationwide ceasefire. We discussed about this at our last commanding officers conference and deliberated thoroughly upon the issue. We want to go step-by-step and make sure the path we take is people-centered and leading towards a lasting peace. We evaluate every step we take before we move on to the next.”

General Baw Kyaw Heh voiced his concerns about the preliminary ceasefire that has been in place since January 2012.

“I have not seen any changes on the ground. We are still being being referred to as “insurgents” [by the Burmese Army] on a daily basis. Not a single Burmese Army outpost in our area has been repositioned back to their base so far.”

General Baw Kyaw Heh pointed out that many sources from the KNU districts confirm that the Burmese Army is still sending more troops to strengthen its forces in Karen state.

“I want to remind people that peace is not merely an absence of fighting, there must be the presence of equality, trust and mutual respect in the process. Only then it will lead us to a real and long-lasting peace. We want a peace that allows the ethnic nationalities of Burma to decide their own political destiny.”

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