Wed 16 Oct 2013
Filed under: Ethnic Issues,Inside Burma,Military
The Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) will not be a signature of a nationwide ceasefire taking place in Burma’s capital of Naypyidaw later this month.
The official announcement came just after the Peacemaking Working Committee (UPWC), led by the government chief peace negotiator U Aung Min, held a meeting in in the Thai city of Chiang Mai with United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) last week in preparation for the nationwide ceasefire.
U Aung San Myint, KNPP first secretary, stressed that even if they are obligated to attend as a UNFC member, they won’t sign it. The Karenni political party needs to be guaranteed that real “political dialogue” will be forthcoming, he said.
“If this signing succeeds without some of the ethnic armed groups, it is not a nationwide ceasefire after all,” said U Saw Lwin, who serves as spokesperson for another Karenni group called the Kayan New Land Party (KNLP).
The Karen National Union (KNU) and Restoration Council of Shan State/ Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) issued a statement back in July urging for a nationwide ceasefire hoping it will lead to government troop withdrawal from the ethnic areas. KNU Vice-chairperson Padoh Naw Zipporah Sein recently voiced her concerns to the Karen News that the government is now using it to benefit themselves without concern for the underlying issues that have perpetuated the conflict.
The KNPP inked a state ceasefire agreement with the government last year. Since then they have participated in two Union-level meetings. But both sides have yet to meet eye to eye on many contentious issues.
The party wants the Burma Army to begin troop withdrawal from areas they deem as their own. Despite the ceasefire, the government still has the KNPP on their list of illegal organisations. Government troops are also resisting discussions about land demarcation. A government military training school is still in the works. There are many dams planned, but little of the hydroelectric power will be available for the state urban centers, and virtually nothing for those residing in rural areas.
Since the ceasefire, the KNPP opened three liaison offices intended to monitor both of the militaries’ movements. The Karenni group also started the Ta Maw Htyar and Kayah Htarni companies to generate income for the party.