Ethnic Groups Want to Hold Kachin Peace Meeting Abroad

A KIA soldier walks through the trenches at Hkaya Bum outpost this weekend. (Photo: Steve Tickner / The Irrawaddy)

A KIA soldier walks through the trenches at Hkaya Bum outpost this weekend. (Photo: Steve Tickner / The Irrawaddy)

A coalition of Burma’s armed ethnic groups said it wants to meet with Burmese government peace negotiators in a foreign country early next month in order to negotiate an end to the Kachin conflict.

Naing Han Tha, a leading member of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), said the group and the government had been discussing the tentative plan for some time, adding that it has yet to be confirmed.

The UNFC last met with the government’s Peace Committee, led by Minister Aung Minh, in November. Another meeting had been scheduled for January, but it was postponed after the fighting between the KIA and the government escalated in late December.

The UNFC is a coalition that represents 11 ethnic militias in Burma, including the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). All, except the KIA, currently have a ceasefire with the government

The KIA said on Monday that it sent a letter to the government stating that it would only hold ceasefire talks through the UNFC. A government spokesperson said the government was considering the proposal.

Naing Han Tha, who is a member of the New Mon State Party, said the UNFC preferred that any meeting with the government would be held abroad, so that the safety of some of its representatives could be guaranteed.

“If we meet, it would be in a third country, such as Thailand,” he said. “Minister Aung Min invited us to hold talks in Burma, but we prefer to hold it outside the country as some of our member groups are still declared Unlawful Associations [by the government], or some have not reached a ceasefire agreement yet.”

The UNFC wants to discuss several issues with the government, such as establishing peace in Kachin State and the amendment of Burma’s military-drafted 2008 Constitution.

On Friday, the government announced that it was implementing a unilateral ceasefire in Kachin State, but fighting continued to rage over the weekend. Both sides have accused the other of launching attacks.

The UNFC was quick to dismiss the announcement, saying the government was misleading the international community into thinking that it was ceasing its Kachin offensive.

7 Responses to Ethnic Groups Want to Hold Kachin Peace Meeting Abroad

  1. Set up without being delay and discuss peace plan to achieve then lay out. Act what have been talk @ agreed.
    Hold arms could not get genuine peace, living together in same land (Burma), no alliance or stranger so stop fighting each other.
    I’d like to say people in Burma (Myanma) be united do not look each other who you are! where you from! Who ever live in Burma must have equality & same benefit.FORGIVE & FORGET what have been done in past.

    • Dear Glen
      After reading your writing , i feel late General Aung san (GAS) is reliving again with effective lip service ( equal kyat slogan on all ethnics). However, than shwe needs kachin jade and land to sell to China more and more with the ming aung laing’s business administration in Kachin lands. Than shwe replies giant China that he is doing compensation to Kachin now with his airstrike. China said it is Burmese internal affair. The business contract between China and than shwe is according to Myanmar law. China thinks Myanmar law also include all ethnics. In fact, Myanmar means Mandalay Kingdom according to General Aung san ( please, see famous Swiss writer B Lit:). I hope than shwe will hear or will not be fed up your voice ( equality, equality) upon your concern.

  2. Hi glen,
    We want to forget the past, but the Burmese government renew it everyday. So how can we forget?

  3. Ethnic Groups Want to Hold Kachin Peace Meeting Abroad; I say a big no? This is a domestic issue all be it with the covert blessings of China, and not a foreign conflict. The Chins can handle these themselves without the cajoling of the Ethnic Groups who need to mend their own fences.
    I am a Shan-Karen-Irish and I want to see a united Myanmar any group that wants anything else must reconsider their options.

    • Well it is being treated by Burma Government as a foreign matter with daily attack using aircraft. Plus, Union was born through panlong agreement which was signed then brought it to constitution.

  4. Distrust has been mounting up too much. There is no way the Kachins can believe whatever Thein Sein’s government says to them. Therefore, mediator needed and the mediator must arrange place and space for political dialogue somewhere in Thailand or Malaysia. China is not a suitable mediator since she has too close relationship with the Burmese junta. The best way for the ethnics is to have political dialogue through UNFC, not individual group.

  5. Wise move. Transparency assured with the world’s media in attendance. A united stand gives them strength, and general principles can be agreed upon before each can pursue their individual and specific issues. Avoid getting bogged down in unrealistic demands early in the process but regional autonomy will have to be expected. Need to thrash out a common program beforehand.

    Big business concerns have no place in peace talks unlike international bodies such as the UN. They already engage in strong lobbying within state agencies in pursuit of market share and profits. Wealth and power unashamedly take unfair advantage over all of us. Land and resources are in danger of being parceled out at the expense of the locals who will be left with no choice but to work for big bosses, domestic or international. Some self determination – slaves in your own domain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Comments with external links in the body text will be deleted by moderators.