KNU Rebels ‘Will Not Turn Back on Peace Process’

President Thein Sein meets the new Karen National Union Chairman Mutu Say Poe in Naypyidaw on Friday. Gifts were exchanged, including the traditional Kayin dress that both leaders are wearing. (Photo: The President’s Office website)

RANGOON—The new Karen National Union leadership said on Monday that it was committed to building up trust with the Burmese government in order to make the peace process a success, adding that its recent meeting with President Thein Sein marked another step towards this goal.

“We are still suspicious of each other, but this is due to the long years of fighting… However, on our part we are trying our best to build up [mutual] trust, as trust is very important in peace talks,” said Mahn Nyein Maung, an executive member of the KNU’s central committee.

“We will try our best to struggle for peace and will not turn back on the peace process,” he said, adding that during the 60-year conflict “many people have died and many suffered the consequences of civil war… we don’t want any more suffering.”

The KNU leaders were speaking at a press conference in Rangoon, where they had met with representatives of Rangoon’s Karen community.

On Friday, the KNU leaders met President Thein Sein, who had invited the new leadership to Naypyidaw. KNU General Secretary Kwe Htoo Win said the meeting had been a formal occasion to introduce the new Karen leadership. The old leadership had met with Thein Sein last year.

In December, a KNU congress elected Mutu Say Poe as chairman, Gen Saw Johnny as military chief and Kwe Htoo Win as general secretary. The three are regarded as pragmatic and have good relations with the government’s peace team.

Kwe Htoo Win said the KNU was satisfied with the progress under the current peace process, which began following the signing of a cease-fire in January 2012. Ethnic Karen rebels have fought a decades-long armed struggle to demand greater autonomy and basic rights.

Kwe Htoo Win said the KNU raised a number of points with Thein Sein, such as its concerns over the escalating conflict in Kachin State, where government forces have recently launched airstrikes on Kachin rebels.

“If there is still war in Kachin State this relates to the peace process with the Karens too,” he said, adding that a comprehensive peace agreement involving all ethnic groups was required. “If we really want countrywide cease-fires and peace, we should talk and negotiate with every group. Only a cease-fire with one side will not work,” Kwe Htoo Win said.

The KNU general secretary said the group would neither accept the 2008 military-drafted Constitution and has no intention to transition into a political party until the Constitution is amended. The KNU also wants to be accepted as a legal organization while remaining political prisoners should be released, he added.

The President’s Office said on its website on Saturday that Thein Sein and the KNU leadership had discussed “the continuation of peace talks, the cease-fire, liaison offices and regional development tasks.”

The president was “committed to bringing about lasting peace during his term, expressing his confidence that the KNU would share the same stance,” according to the statement, which noted the KNU’s concern over the Kachin conflict.

The statement made particular mention of the need to bring foreign investment and development projects to Burma’s ethnic regions in order to create jobs, once peace was achieved.

(Additional reporting by Paul Vrieze)

14 Responses to KNU Rebels ‘Will Not Turn Back on Peace Process’

  1. KNU for Thein Sein Government. Not KNU for Karen people.

  2. Peace Process? It will fade away when political dialogue is not on the list of Thein Sein’s agenda. Well! Aung Min is successfully and cleverly cheating the ethnics.

  3. This is a good omen for all peace loving people in Myanmar. It is not two former soldiers but citizen soldiers— leaders of their own people, now, making a political compact based on mutual respect so that peace, political stability and human security will prevail in a free and democratic sovereign nation, Myanmar, still in the making.

  4. If both Sae Poe faction which has robbed the KNU leadership off Zapora Sein with no real claim to Saw Ba Oo Gyi/ Padho Mann Shar morality and leadership and lying, cheating military with fronting clowns- Thein Sein/ Aung Min who are playing with viper think they can control Sasakawa grief awaits for both.

    Thaksin/ Than Shwe clans’ “smart plan” for the port, Hard Labour Camps (SEZ’s), Gambling/ Brothel Complex of Tavoy and the Norwegian “peace” meddling of processing the people for most productive slavery status are going to be mild once the Yakuza’s master, Musollini worshipping, gambling, extorting, brain washing owners of Japan LDP and the United Nations- Sasakawa comes in to grow seeds of little devils in the soils of the Karen Land.

  5. Yes, it is peace process. They KNU leaders got peace in their mind because they will be rich.
    The ordinary people like you and me will suffer.
    They said they work for the Karen people. Actually they don’t. They turn away from their people when they see $$$$$$$$$$$$$.

  6. Oh my gosh! Thra Thein Sein? Pado Thein Sein? Thramu Thein Sein? Muga Thein Sein? Saw Thein Sein? Naw Thein Sein? All of the above Thein Sein?

  7. Never trust bama government if in all ceasefire agreement ,there is no condition on the obligation of panglong agreement which have been already established and well documented. Because Kachin is asking the condition of obligation of panglong agreement in all ceasefire agreement. It is the difference between the other ethnics and kachin in the respect of all ceasefire agreement , initiated by bama military government. Without panglong agreement , all the ceasefire agreement will be broken anytime so there is no confidence for all foriegn investment in all ethnics regions.

    • This is what we have been talking about. The Kachins do not ask from you to give them your daughters. They are neither asking your property. They are just asking you to give them back what your daddies(U Nu, Ne Win, Sein Lwin, Maung Maung, Saw Maung, Than Shwe and Thein Sein) stole from them. Admit your daddies’ guilt and return the stolen freedom to the Kachins.

  8. Well, most of us have hidden agendas, in love and war. Like a bamboo that sways when the wind blows from different directions but always firm and rooted in the ground of reality. The politics of the moment. Democracy is us, with the people and for the people of Myanmar -Burma.

  9. Was “Independence” [1948] only for the Bama’s? So the Bama’s can colonized the non-Burmese countries.. Did the Bama’s like being colonized by the Brits? Where is the “KoGyinSah- Seik”. Kachin State was never part of ministerial burma The “Frontier Areas”, also known as the “Excluded Areas” or the “Scheduled Areas”, compose the majority of states within Burma today. They were administered separately by the British, and were united with Burma proper to form Myanmar’s geographic composition today. The Frontier Areas were inhabited by ethnic minorities such as the Chin, the Shan, the Kachin and the Karenni.
    So Bama Amry in Kachin State is an act of IMPERIALISM which the Bamas resisted when the Brits imposed it on the Bamas.

  10. KNU be care full, learn from the past, be stand with KIA don’t let go second Manerplaw (Lizar)
    for ethnic minorities

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