KNU Official Wants Japan To consult On Any Development Planned For Karen State

A Karen National Union official urged a visiting Japanese Member of Parliament when planning development project for Karen State that there is an urgent need to consult and involve the KNU.

Padoh Aung Win Shwe, head of the KNU Foreign Affair Department informed a Japanese Member of Parliament that his government needed to involve the KNU as well as the Burma government in any development projects planned for Karen State.

In the meeting held at the KNU’s Central Liaison office in Hpa-An on April 30th, Padoh Aung Win Shwe called on Mr. Michihiro Ishibashi, an MP from Japan’s Democratic Party to take his message back to his government. Mr. Michihiro Ishibashi was in Burma to observe his government’s aid programs in Karen State.

Padoh Aung Win Shwe told Karen News about the discussions.

“In Karen State, the relevant agencies [for discussion] are not only government officials and MPC [Myanmar Peace Center], there are local KNU officials and there are KNU central level officials. Therefore, we suggest them to also communicate, consult and cooperate with us if they want to implement any development projects in KNU areas. Then we can build more understanding between us.”

Mr. Michihiro Ishibashi said in the meeting that he was there to observe the Japan’s Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) who currently providing aid in Karen state and at the same time to meet with the KNU to consultations on future programs.

Mr. Michihiro Ishibashi spoke to Karen News and said.

“I came here to observe the activities of Japanese NGOs in Karen State and to be able see which areas that need to be assisted more. In addition, we also have more [planned] projects to support Karen State.”

Several Japanese agencies including the Japanese’s government have been providing assistance in Karen State – programs range from donating clothing, providing food rations and other small infrastructure developments.

Since the ceasefire agreement between the KNU and the government in 2012 many INGO, NGOs and Japanese aid agencies, including Japan NIPPON Foundation have come to Burma. KNU officials claim many of these organisations in its rush to do ‘business with the government’ have failed to consult with the KNU, thus setting up a divide and rule situation that could hamper or even derail peace talks.

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