In a show of unity and strength representatives from 17 armed resistance groups met in Karen State to discuss a nationwide ceasefire agreement for Burma.
The ethnic armed groups released a statement claiming the conference that ran over five days from 20 to 25 January and held at Law Khee Lar, Karen State was a success. The ethnic armed group under its working title, the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), said in its statement that the “outstanding achievement of [the] Law Khee Lar Conference is the competency to adopt a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, unanimously.”
The NCCT’s statement said the Law Khee Lar Conference built on the unity that began in its first conference held in the Kachin town, Laiza.
The statement confirmed that the NCCT team had the support of the 17 ethnic armed resistance organization and “this Conference further gave mandate to the NCCT to undertake further coordination in respect of the Agreement.”
The conference held at Law Khee Lar (also known as Lay Wah), is located in a region under the control of the Karen National Union (KNU) administration.
The Law Khee Lar Conference was attended by a total of 160 representatives from 17 ethnic armed resistance organizations, invited representatives and observers, including those from the All Burma Student Democratic Front (ABSDF).
The NCCT statement acknowledged that the “representative leaders from the ethnic armed resistance organizations freely and frankly held discussions, on the basis of [the] Panglong spirit and [the] Laiza spirit. The Conference was able to materialize, in terms of principle as well as procedure, the unity gained from the Laiza Conference.”
The NCCT statement said that the Law Khee Lar Conference, “in addition to consolidating unity of all the ethnic nationalities, serves as an arena for preparing them, for different stages of political dialogues and negotiations that will come after achievement of nationwide ceasefire.”
The NCCT said in its statement that ethnic armed resistance organizations are determined to “struggle on until their political goal of establishment of a “Genuine Federal Union” is achieved.”
NCCT said that the ethnic armed resistance organizations are building its unity “in order to be able to cooperate and participate, with correct intention, in the processes of cessation of the civil war, building internal peace and rehabilitation of the country.”
The NCCT called for a consolidation of unity between ethnic people and its statement was released to urge the building of “ethnic unity of the entire people consisting of all the nationalities, including organizations of the ruling government, from the ethnic unity that has been successfully achieved.”