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KNU Continues to Support NCA led Peace Process in Myanmar

Published Nov 27, 2019
Updated Feb 06, 2020

The Karen National Union (KNU) a major ethnic nationalist group in Myanmar has indicated that Joint Implementation Coordination Meeting (JICM) mechanism of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) will be the principal mechanism for breaking the deadlock through talks with the Myanmar Government. The KNU held the 16th Congress from Nov. 5 to Nov. 22.

The KNU seeks to focus on federalism even as the NCA is mainly focused on the issues related to cease fire and containment of violence. “That’s why [the peace process] is facing a crisis and there is a need to negotiate again,” KNU general secretary Padoh Saw Ta Doh Moo told The Irrawaddy.

“We want to discuss the concepts regarding permanent ceasefire and building federalism,” he said.

In addition to the KNU, the Karen National Liberation Army–Peace Council (KNLA-PC), the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA), the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF), the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), the Chin National Front (CNF) and the Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO) all signed the NCA with U Thein Sein’s administration in 2015 as per the Irrawaddy Report

KNU Joint Secretary (2) Pado Saw Hla Tun told Mizzima that KNU was trying to meet State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the Tatmadaw C-in-C Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing in separate meetings.

KNU Joint Secretary (2) Pado Saw Hla Tun said, “We are negotiating with them for a meeting. We don’t know yet the situation there as we assign this work to the general secretary.”

Mizzima learned from the KNU that the KNU proposed to meet State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on October 28 and meet Tatmadaw C-in-C Min Aung Hlaing on October 29 in separate meetings.

While the National League for Democracy (NLD) had resolution of the ethnic issues on top of the agenda it has not been able to address the same during the last four years or so that it has been in power even though some effort towards revival of the Panglong Meets has been made.

Thus even as Myanmar has been locked in conflict for around 70 years. It has only been three or four years since meetings in real earnest have started for a political solution.

There is a lack of trust even in the three key stakeholders: government, Tatmadaw [Myanmar military] and ethnic armed organizations [EAOs] or ethnicities.

There is a need to understand the lives and wishes of ethnic people. Similarly, ethnicities should understand the concerns of the government about the Union. This remains the main stumbling block where a breakthrough has not been achieved even though a ceasefire agreement has been in place in Myanmar for many years with some groups.