No peace talks while war on Kachin goes on

Winding up the 4-day United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) meeting yesterday, General Secretary of the 11 member organization alliance Nai Hongsa reiterated this morning that there would be nothing to talk about at the next round of peace talks with Naypyitaw’s point man U Aung Min as long as the offensive against Laiza, the headquarters of its leading member Kachin Independence Organization / Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA) continues.

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“We will meet,” he said. “But it will be to demand immediate cessation of hostilities, and nothing else.”

Following the informal meeting between the two sides on 9 November, the UNFC had written to U Aung Min on 23 December to hold a meeting on the framework of the upcoming political dialogue in Thailand. “The letter’s reply on 27 December was that it was okay to discuss the framework in Thailand,” Nai Hongsa recounted. “But the all inclusive conference should be held inside Burma.”

Earlier, the UNFC was reported to have proposed Japan or Cambodia as the venue for the next meeting.

Government spokesman U Ye Htut, in response to a question posed by Wall Street Journal, said that the government forces had no plan to attack and occupy Laiza, but only to clear the hills around the town that the KIA troops were using to attack the Burma camps. “But if they were in occupation of these hills, the existence of Laiza as the Kachin resistance will become pointless,” commented a long time Thai observer to SHAN.

The UNFC has 6 members: Karen National Union (KNU), Chin National Front (CNF), New Mon State Party (NMSP), Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) and PaO National Liberation Organization (PNLO) that have concluded ceasefire pacts with the government.

7 others that have ceasefire agreements: United Wa State Army (UWSA), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), Karen Peace Council (KPC), Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) and National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) are not UNFC members.

The said non-UNFC groups have yet to say whether or not they are going to cut separate political deals. But during the consultations in February 2012 when 17 armed movements met, all had agreed that while it was fine to conclude ceasefire agreements separately, there was no way but to negotiate collectively when it came to their political demands.


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