Thu 3 Oct 2013
Filed under: Ethnic Issues,Inside Burma,Military,News
General Khun Okka, co-secretary of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), announced that the UNFC will not attend the Nationwide Ceasefire Signing as a representative unit, pending an official invitation from Nay Pyi Taw.
Myanmar government chief negotiator U Aung Min told reporters last month that a nationwide ceasefire agreement will be signed in Nay Pyi Taw before the end of this year.
Several world leaders, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair are reportedly among those invited by the Myanmar Peace Center to witness the event.
Nevertheless, “The UNFC will not be attending [the nationwide ceasefire signing ceremony],” Khun Okka announced. “However, the central leaders of the UNFC have been invited to attend the ceremony to witness the organizations signing [the ceasefire agreement].”
“They [the Government Peace-making Work Committee] told us that they will issue us an [official] invitation if the groups under our council agree to sign [the ceasefire] individually. At this point, however, we will not sign collectively as the UNFC,” explained Khun Okka.
It is still not confirmed which armed groups under the UNFC will attend the nationwide ceasefire signing ceremony.
“We need to know the rules involved in signing the ceasefire agreement. Our [individual] groups may go [and sign] after they have constructed a policy and agreed to the rules. That’s all I can say so far,” said Khun Okka.
Khun Okka stated that the UNFC would gratefully attend the conference as a unified body if it receives an official invitation. He also noted that the armed groups under its organization will confer on the points of discussion that they are hoping to address at the nationwide ceasefire signing ceremony.
The United Nationalities Federal Council is a coalition of eleven armed ethnic groups including the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), whose armed wing is currently involved in firefights with Myanmar government troops.