Ethnic Party Alliance Has Little Faith In Gov’t’s Peace Convention

A major Burma ethnic political alliance claims that the government’s peace convention will fail. The alliance said in a statement that convention, part of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, is scheduled to start on January 12, is unlikely to lead to a genuine democratic federal union for the country.

The United Nationalities Alliance (UNA), composed of eight ethnic political parties made the statement after it held a meeting on December 30 at the office of the Shan National League for Democracy’s office in Rangoon.

U Aye Tha Aung, an alliance member told Karen News that the group held a common position that they fail to see how the convention will work as only eight of the ethnic armed groups are included.

Speaking to Karen News, U Aye Tha Aung said.

“We, the UNA want all ethnic armed groups to be included in the NCA. Now, it’s only eight groups. Those armed groups that are not signatories to the NCA will only be invited as special guests, but cannot actively be involved in the discussion in the union convention. There are questions to be asked whether this union convention will be able to deliver the political system that all the ethnic groups want, which is the establishment of a genuine federal state with full self-determination.”

U Aye Tha Aung said that although the UNA has little hope, of success they would send their representatives to the convention to take part in the dialogue and to raise issues that they are concerned about.

The UNA meeting was attended by the Shan National League for Democracy; Mon National Party, Arankan National Party, Karen National Party, Zomi National League for Democracy, Kayan National Party and Kachin State National Democracy party. An alliance member that didn’t attend the meeting was the Kokang Democratic Party.

According to an alliance source, the issues discussed at the UNA meeting included ratification of its policies, political dialogue and cooperation with the National League for Democracy, both withing and outside of parliament.

According to Mahn Kyaw Nyein, secretary of the Karen National Party, membership of the alliance will grow in the future, as there are now six new ethnic parties that had applied for membership.

The UNA was formed in 2012 with eight ethnic political parties. Four member parties won seats in the recent November 2015 election.

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