Ethnic Groups to Demand ‘Self-Determination’ at Political Dialogue
27 January 2012: Burma’s ethnic armed groups that have met with Thein Sein’s government in recent months for preliminary state-level ceasefire talks say they will demand ‘self-determination’ on the agenda at the political dialogue with the Union government.
In a statement released yesterday following the second Central Committee meeting held from 23-25 January 2012, the Karen National Union (KNU) said that the issues of ‘equality and self-determination’ will be raised by ethnic nationalities forces during the political talks with the Union Government.
In an interview with Chinland Guardian, Dr. Sui Khar, Chin National Front’s chief negotiator and Secretary-General of the multi-ethnic alliance Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC), said : “We accepted the ceasefire agreement this time around because it’s not a ceasefire for the sake of a ceasefire, but it includes the agreement to hold a political dialogue. The government side also agreed to our proposal for a framework for political dialogue.”
The Union-level political dialogue will test whether the new government is serious about ending one of the world’s longest-running civil war or whether the recent ceasefire agreements were designed just to temporarily ease international pressures.
Ethnic armed groups have insisted that the questions of political equality and autonomy, which are their main grievence, must be resolved for a permanent settlement of the conflict to be successful.
Burma’s government has so far signed ceasefires with ethnic armed groups including the Chin National Front (CNF), the Shan State Army (SSA), the Wa and Mongla, and the Karen National Union (KNU), bute the recent meetings with the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) have not yielded a cease-fire agreement or ended the ongoing conflict in Kachin State.
Van Biak Thang