US Ambassador to Talk With Mon, Karen Leaders

Derek Mitchell, the US ambassador to Burma, speaks to opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi after their meeting at her home in Rangoon on March 14, 2012. He will meet with Mon and Karen leaders this weekend. (Photo: Reuters)

America’s top diplomat in Burma is set for meetings with ethnic Mon and Karen leaders to discuss peace processes in their states, according to Mon sources.

Derek Mitchell, the US ambassador to Burma, is also expected to ask about the escalating war in northern Kachin State, a top ranking official with the New Mon State Party said.

On Saturday, Mitchell and leaders from three political parties—the New Mon State Party (NMSP), the Mon Democracy Party (MDP) and the All Mon Regions Democracy Party (AMRDP)— will meet for dinner at Strand Hotel in the Mon state capital of Moulmein.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Friday, Nai Tala Nyi, an executive committee member of the NMSP, said Mon leaders wanted to form a united front with other ethnic groups in peace negotiations.

“Our political stand is based on UNFC policy,” he said, referring to an alliance of major ethnic armed groups called the United Nationalities Federal Council. “We won’t have political talks with the government unless all of our ethnic armed groups have a representative at the table.”

The UNFC has also said that if the government does not stop the war in north Burma, its members would be forced to revoke their own ceasefire agreements and resume fighting.

Nai Tala Nyi, who will attend the meeting with Mitchell, added: “We’ll tell the ambassador that the government should stop fighting in Kachin State if it wants to have peace in this country.”

Min Soe Linn, a secretary for the MDP, said he hoped for a substantial discussion at the meeting on Saturday.

“He [the ambassador] invited us to dinner,” he said. “I hope this isn’t just a dinner and that he really talks with us about the current peace processes in our country.”

If asked about the war in Kachin State, Min Soe Linn said he would tell the ambassador that the escalating conflict indicated the government did not seem to genuinely desire peace.

He said the government’s top leaders had made political changes for their own benefit, hoping to attract foreign investment in the country that could create more job opportunities and encourage more people to vote for them in later elections.

“They are not different from the last military government,” he said. “They’ve only changed their clothes.”

Nai Ngwe Thein, chairman of the AMRDP, urged a permanent peace.

“Without peace, we can’t have political talks,” he said. “The government isn’t really sincere right now in the peace process.

“I really sympathize with the Kachin people, as fighting continues to get worse,” he added. “They’re forced to live in poor conditions, with poor education opportunities and a poor economy, and the government doesn’t care about them.”

Nai Ngwe Thein added that the government could not secure peace anywhere in the country if its army continued to launch attacks in Kachin State.

Mitchell, who has expressed concern about the Kachin conflict to key government officials, is set to visit Karen State on Sunday, meeting with local leaders in the state capital of Pa-an.

Ethnic groups around the country are pushing for greater autonomy from the national government through a federal system.

In early December, President Thein Sein visited Mon State and encouraged ethnic leaders to fight for political change in Parliament. But because the military and representatives from the government hold the majority of seats, ethnic leaders say it is nearly impossible for them to secure political resolutions by amending the 2008 Constitution.

“Our party leaders won’t join Parliament because we’ve already seen that we can’t win our fight there,” said MDP secretary Min Soe Lin.

Ethnic leaders of Burma are calling for a type of tribal political dialogue, which they believe can help resolve political conflicts in many of the country’s ethnic states. They allege that the national government has neglected their request.

“Parliament has to approve any agreements we make in our political dialogue currently,” Min Soe Lin said. “Otherwise the peace processes can’t go forward.”

Meanwhile, ethnic leaders have criticized Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for keeping quiet on the war in Kachin State.

Nai Han Thar, secretary of the UNFC alliance of ethnic armed groups, said he thought Suu Kyi may not have spoken up yet because she wanted to maintain relations with the government, or because she did not understand the feelings of ethnic groups in the country who had long suffered through political and armed conflicts.

9 Responses to US Ambassador to Talk With Mon, Karen Leaders

  1. Aung San Su Kyi “Rule of Law.” is only for Burman people not for ethnic because the many Burman still consider the ethnic as second class citizen and Burman people have to get the first chance. She might think the same way like this.
    She can interfered in Laptaw Taw issue but she can not interfere in Kachin issue.

  2. googd writing and well done criticizing, htow weang

  3. Dear Mon and Karen representatives,
    The Burman will do to you what they are doing to the Kachin. If history is any guide of future for you, you can notice that Burman has expanded from a narrow strip along the irrawaddy river in the plain to all over what is called union of myanmar now. they over-reproduce more than other ethnic groups to the two third of country’s population. The delta region was the ruled by mon kings till the kong baung dynasty. Look who resides the most in the delta region? Burman wants to control all of the resource-rich area and fertile land. They have never genuinely cared about the well being of ethnic minority. Just because they window-dress their administration staff with a couple of ethnic minority members, it does mean that they regard you as a human being. The British tried to use the same strategy after conquering Burma and installed a puppet government. Anyone with Kachin, mon, Karen and other minority blood in them should refuse to participate in any deals with Burman till the war on Kachin is stopped unconditionally and future peace for all of the ethnic groups is guaranteed.

    • Hay Thein Nget, you said the delta is ruled by mon king, i think that is not true, because the delta or irrawaddy is purely Karen people territory before any of any ethnic group came to settle here. Karen people, and Burman, and then now all ethnic group mixed up.
      i am not quiet sure you said delta, is it the one Irrawaddy?

      • Dear Koko and Thein Nget
        i has many Karen friends in the delta region which is rich of natural fertilizers, resources and the best weather in Burma. I knows about the ruling of Mon King before Bama King in Burma but i realize that Mon are mostly residing in the east of Burma near Thailand, instead of delta region. I saw one Mon professor, Buddhist religious Dr Min tin Mon in Rangoon and the features of Karen and Mon are not much different ( ie fair complexion, look like Chinese decent than India, gentle , big built, civilized, religious and educated in both Mon and Karen). Most of my English teachers are Karen. I could not differentiate who is Mon and who is Karen. I am not racist.
        Anyway, i can tell both of you that there is a documented history where and which of the ethnics are mostly living in Burma. It is not important to argue this issue because bama army rulers made and are making bamanization in Burma. Bama army second panglong agreement might has no autonomy and no federalism , like tricky U nu’s one.
        It is time for unity of all ethnics and it might be the best chance for all ethnics to fight for your rights and autonomy, promised by General Aung San. At the same time, use the same tactic of dirty Than shwe who play the game with China and US. Forget about military powerless, silent DASSK who might has her reasons to behave strangely as she can not even give lip service on the important ethnic issue. DASSK might has poor , incapable political advisers. Than shwe might threat DASSK that the right and autonomy of all ethnics might prevent her from being next president of Burma.
        All ethnics should approach the China as well with the mentioning and advantage of your look and feature, more on the Chinese side. I appreciate US government ,particularly Ms Clinton who is now doing the best for all Burmese. I hope Ms Clinton should be next noble price winner as well as the next president of US government. Cheer Ms Clinton and your name will be forever in all Burmese and all ethnics for your tireless effort. Hope you well soon and more, more beautiful. Ethnic unity and approaching China are the only solution of all ethnic issue.

      • does not matter. My point is that Burman did not belong to the delta region and mountainous areas as much as rohingya does not belong in the rakhine state. burman occupation has caused more harm than good to ethnic minority. since the founding of the first myanmar kingdom in the 11th century, how long have ethnic minorities enjoy peace and co-prosperity along with the burmen? why did burman kings always leave conquered lands in ruin instead of re-developing them? look at the lack of development of the ethnic regions. they have to give up their natural resources at gun point to the burman military and receive next to nothing in compensation.

  4. That’s right! ” All for one – and one for all! “. No peace and prosperity anywhere; unless there is peace and prosperity everywhere! Don’t let Myanma go down the path of Libya and Syria

  5. The Mon leaders clearly said so. I hope the US Ambassador understands well about Burma and what is happening there. When he sends back some real messages to Obama, the US can reconsider what to do and what not to do with Burmese junta. Military training program offered by the US might be the main issue to reconsider.

  6. How come Yanks are now openly interfering with the internal affairs of a sovereign country?

    Or is Burma by popular acclamation, a slave state of the great nation the United States now?

    In today’s Burma and the diaspora all over the world but especially in America, it does appear there are no shortage of slave-minded people whose sole aim in life is to be grateful, supplicant, eager, loyal slaves to those Great White American People because they are famous, because they are so, so advanced, and because they appear so, so RICH, while desperately trying to cover up the fact that the United States, after looting and raping lands around the globe, is in fact bankrupt and is like a monster which has to wonder around ceaselessly and constantly find new “virgin” to suck the jugular blood and the life out. And now the Sit-tut and their cronies as well as the “Peoples’ champions” of all shade and colour are tightly united as one mind to help the Yanks to suck the jugular blood and life out the latest victim, a willing victim.

    UNFC is simply a bunch of ineffectual prostitutes waiting for crumbs to fall their way from various “governmental”, Norwegian and that Yakuza/ Kempetai sympathiser Sasakawa handouts and now of course Mitchell/ Soros represented Jewish Rothschilds handouts while quietly enjoying the show of the death throes of the Kachins ignoring their agonal cries.

    For the record, apart from constantly coming up with excuses and reasons to cover up for various heinous/ cruel/ unconscionable/ devastating/ blatantly criminal acts of Thein Sein fronted Sit-tut regime and facilitating the entry of various international corporations accepting Prizes” from the head of one of the representative organization Christine Largarde, Aung San Suu Kyi is for the people NOT RELEVANT at all. Unworthy of any comment on her activities or lack of it.

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