Junta’s leader Meeting with former KNU Officials, dismissed by current Karen leadership as Desperate Ploy to Weaken the Resistance Karen State

Padoh Saw Kler Say, the spokesperson for the Karen National Union (KNU), informed KIC that coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing's meeting with former high ranking KNU who have lost all credibility, would not bring any benefits to the military junta.

The KNU issued this response in reaction to reports from Junta- controlled media regarding a visit made by former KNU chairman General Saw Mutu Say Poe, former defense chief Padoh Saw Roger Khin, and Dooplaya District chairman Padoh Saw Shwe Moung, to military coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and his team at Bayintnaung Villa in Nay Pyi Taw on September 30.

Padoh Saw Kler Say said that the visit occurred because the former KNU chairman and his group had accepted a personal invitation from the Military Council. However given that these former leaders no longer hold influence within the organization, it is seen as having no advantage for the Military Council

The former KNU chairman Saw Mutu Say Poe has long been advocating allegiance to the almost moribund NCA peace process, in spite of the Spring revolution and has been broadly supported by the mainstream of the KNU. Roger Khin has also been disgraced by strong allegations of corruption and involvement in a Chinese project in the New City nexus of casinos and cyber-scam operations.

“As for the Military Council, they are making these invitations in the hope that it might offer them some form of support when they have been losing ground to the KNU.” remarked Padoh Saw Kler Say.

Nai Banyar Mon, an ethnic political analyst, suggested that the meeting was an attempt by the Military Council as a means to sow division in opinions between the KNU and other revolutionary forces, while also aiming to revive the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).

“The Military Council is attempting to extend invitations to the leaders associated with the NCA anniversary on October 15, either individually or as representatives of their organizations. Their aim is to revive the NCA, which would bring the 2008 constitution back into effect. Through this, the Military Council hopes to secure international recognition as a legitimate government. However, given the ongoing conflicts in KNU territories and the NCA’s current invalidity, I don’t foresee these efforts yielding positive results,” he told KIC.

Earlier on September 16th KNU Brigade 7 (Hpa-An District ) the only KNU brigade not actively resisting the Junta issued a unilateral statement in support of meeting the Military Council under the auspices of NCA process. They have long been supporters of the former chairman General Saw Mutu Say Poe.

KNU chief spokesperson Padoh Saw Tar Doh Moo clarified on August 10th that “ There is no reason to follow the NCA anymore. The military has trampled upon and destroyed Chapter 1 of the agreement, which is the heart of the entire NCA. Without Chapter 1, the whole agreement doesn’t make sense. Therefore, I want to say that using the NCA to deceive the international community or the public has no relevance for us.”. As an EAO the KNU is one of the pillars of the Spring Revolution, and committed to the Federal Democratic Union in partnership with the NUG, a position supported by the other 6 KNU brigades.

However KNU Hpa-An District Chairman Padoh Saw Aung Maw Aye in conversation with KIC did not agree with the KNU mainstream backing active resistance to the Junta regime.

“The resumption of fighting in other district brigades and the military’s airstrikes has inflicted significant suffering and hardships upon our people. stated Hpa-An District Chairman Padoh Saw Aung Maw Aye in conversation with KIC.(September 16th )

This statement defines the KNU brigade based in Hpa-An, as the only brigade inside the KNU -KNLA who is not part of the armed resistance fighting the Junta, and continues to sit down with the Myanmar Generals in NCA forums. Ther statement of the KNU 7th Brigade (Hpa-An District) maintains they will exclusively pursue the resolution of the political issue through political means.

The KNU Padoh Saw Kler Say, a new spokesperson emphasized that the September 30th meeting with KNU’s demoted leaders, would not bring any advantages to the Military Council, nor would it affect the security of war-displaced individuals in KNU-controlled territories. This is because Dooplaya district chairman Padoh Saw Shwe Moung, who participated in the meeting, is no longer actively fulfilling his responsibilities.

The meeting between former KNU chairman General Saw Mutu Say Poe’s team and military coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing coincided with the upcoming 8th anniversary of the signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) on October 15.

At present, the Military Council is engaging in frequent meetings with ethnic armed organizations that have signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) to discuss peace. However, since the coup in 2021, the KNU has been actively involved in fighting alongside revolutionary forces against the military rule and opposing the military dictatorship. As a result, they have not participated in the talks extended by the Military Council.

KNU spokesperson Padoh Saw Kler Say affirmed, “As the Karen National Union, we want to make it clear that we will persist in our fight against the military dictatorship, in accordance with the plans we have established.” During the period from July 2021 to July 2023, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) joint forces conducted operations within KNU-controlled territories, resulting in the capture of more than 60 Military Council camps.

As the Military Council’s controlled territory has diminished, they have escalated their use of artillery shells and airstrikes, leading to a rise in the number of displaced people, surpassing 630,000, as reported by the Karen Peace Support Network (KPSN).

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