Thu 17 May 2012
Filed under: International,United Nations
United Nations – U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon called for an end to attacks by all parties in Myanmar on Thursday after receiving a letter from a rebel independence group in the country’s Kachin State asking the United Nations to help end its conflict with the government.Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky said the secretary-general had received a letter from the Kachin Independence Organization, the political wing of the Kachin Independence Army.
The Kachin conflict resurfaced in June 2011, scuttling a 16-year truce and displacing an estimated 50,000 people.
Myanmar, formerly called Burma, said last month it will choose a team of 50 peace negotiators led by a vice president to settle the conflict in Kachin State and bring all ethnic groups into the political fold ahead of 2015 elections.
Myanmar’s reformist President Thein Sein appealed to dozens of ethnic minority dissident or insurgent groups in August to start talks, which was one of the key conditions set by the West in order for sanctions on the country to be lifted.
“The U.N. is following closely the situation on the ground,” Nesirky told reporters, adding that on a recent visit to Myanmar by Ban the government had told him that it had “ceased offensive operations in Kachin.”
“While we have no confirmed information of the situation in the conflict areas the secretary-general calls on all parties to cease offensives and to find a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict there,” he said.
About a third of Myanmar’s 60 million people belong to ethnic minorities and many of them resent what they see as domination by the majority Burman community.
“Any escalation of the violence at this stage could result in an aggravation of the situation of internal displacement and in a rise of human rights violations all of which must be avoided,” Nesirky said.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)