Thu 31 May 2007
Filed under: News,On The Border
According to Abel Tweed, Vice Chairman of Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), one of the three major groups fighting against Burma’s military rulers, a ceasefire agreement would lead to nothing but total submission to tyranny.
He was referring to the planned peace talks between the Shan State Army (SSA) South and the Burma Army last week that failed to materialize.
To prove his point, Tweed showed S.H.A.N. a document he had received from a high-level Thai security officer years back. The said officer had claimed to have picked the information up from a senior official from the now defunct Military Intelligence Service (MIS).
According to the two step peace arrangement, as the document was called:
Ethnic armed groups that had agreed to a ceasefire with the Burma Army would be granted “Deployment Areas,” each with an approximate radius of 5 miles, where they could maintain armed patrols for their own security without disturbance from the Burma Army. They would also be encouraged to engage in social and economic activities while minimizing their military activities.
Two options will be given to the groups when general elections are called some time in the future: forming political parties to participate in the elections (in which case they have to either surrender their arms or relinquish their commands to the Burma Army) or choose not to participate in the elections (in which case they must remain in their ‘Deployment Areas’ during the elections)
The fate of the groups that choose to hang on to their arms will be left to the new government and its policy with regards to the said groups
“That’s a one way trip to the end of our struggle for the people, ” Abel Tweed commented.
The KNPP’s last round of peace talks, which took place in Tachilek on 23 March, ended inconclusively after the Burma Army “invited” it to abandon its armed struggle and “return to the legal fold”, the junta’s euphemism for surrender.
Three days later, the Karenni bases across Maehongson were shelled heavily by the Burma Army, an act the KNPP interpreted as Naypyidaw’s signal that there would be no further peace talks between the two.