KNU Sticks to NCA to Advance Myanmar Peace Process

By Kyaw Kha 25 November 2019

YANGON—The Karen National Union (KNU) said in a statement on Friday that it would work to break the stalemate in the peace process through the Joint Implementation Coordination Meeting (JICM) mechanism of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).

The group said in the statement that it would hold talks with the government, the Myanmar military and ethnic armed organizations, following its 16th congress from Nov. 5 to Nov. 22.

Though the NCA includes provisions to end clashes and establish a federal Union, the question of how federalism will be established has never been clear, said the KNU.

“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.

The KNU stopped participating in official peace talks in November 2018 and has only engaged in informal talks since then.

The group has called for designing a framework to implement the NCA. Padoh Saw Ta Doh Moo said that without such a framework, there can be disputes over wording and terminology, and the two sides may define words differently to meet their own ends.

The KNU expects to design this framework through the JICM, he said. “We want to discuss the concepts regarding permanent ceasefire and building federalism,” he said.

So far, the two sides have designed a framework for political dialogue. However the framework at most outlines how to manage the meetings; it doesn’t outline how to discuss or reach an agreement on federalism, according to the KNU.

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.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko