War Against the Junta

Myanmar’s Civilian Govt Says No Talks With Junta Until It Stops Killing Civilians, Quits Politics

By The Irrawaddy 2 December 2022

The acting president of Myanmar’s civilian National Unity Government (NUG), Duwa Lashi La, said the NUG would consider entering a dialogue with the military regime only if it stopped killing civilians, guaranteed its withdrawal from politics and agreed to abolish the  2008 constitution.

In addition, the acting president said, the military must not interfere in the distribution of international humanitarian aid to citizens, and the international community would have to serve as a mediator to facilitate the implementation of the first three points, Duwa Lashi La added at a Reuters Next conference aired on Thursday.

“The people have already demonstrated their will that they will not support dialogue with the junta at any cost. However, for the sake of the people and the country, the NUG government is finding out the necessary means,”  he said.

“We already have taken into account that the junta would hold onto power by any means, despite the deaths of civilians or even if the country collapsed.”

Speaking from an undisclosed location in Myanmar, the acting president added that to push the regime to come to the dialogue table, the revolutionary government requires anti-aircraft weapons, because the regime has mostly relied on air strikes to crush the resistance.

“If we had anti-aircraft weapons, it’s safe to say that we could win in six months. They would have to attend the table for dialogues. They would also [have to] accept the ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] proposals. They would also follow the demands of the US, EU and other countries. [Otherwise] they won’t accept or follow at all,” he added.

The Myanmar regime has been struggling to combat a nationwide popular armed resistance movement since the coup last year. Nearly two years on, the junta still can’t properly control the country, but has responded to the resistance with air strikes, shelling and torching of villages in resistance strongholds.

Founded after the coup by lawmakers from the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) and their ethnic allies, the NUG enjoys the support of a majority of Myanmar people at home and abroad. So far it has formed over 300 battalions of its armed wing, the People’s Defense Force (PDF).

Despite the international calls for constructive dialogue among all parties concerned in order to seek a peaceful solution, junta leader Min Aung Hlaing has ruled out negotiations with regime opponents including the NUG and the PDF, which it has declared as terrorist organizations.

The NUG acting president urged the world to support Myanmar’s ongoing revolution against military rule.

“If only we received the same support that Ukraine receives from US and EU, the sufferings of the people who are being slaughtered would cease at once… I would appreciate it if anyone or any country who could be in our shoes could help us as soon as possible,” he added.

Around 2,000 PDF members, mostly young people, have been killed in battles with the junta while the regime has lost nearly 25,000 troops.

“We regard [the deaths] as the price we must pay,” said Duwa Lashi La.

The 72-year-old, an ethnic Kachin and Christian, and his family have been forced to flee their home for their safety, and all of their properties were seized by the military regime.

“I have no idea when I will give up my life,” he said. “It is up to God’s will. I am already committed to sacrificing anything for my country,” he said.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a rights group that has been monitoring the unrest, said that so far, more than 2,500 civilians have been killed and around 14,000 arrested unlawfully.