Govt reluctant to agree to ‘federal army’ establishment
05 November 2013: The Union Peace-making Work Committee (UPWC) of the government of Burma has shown hesitation in agreeing to the formation of a federal army proposed by the ethnic armed organizations.
During a meeting with the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), a committee comprising representatives of the ethnic armed groups, in the Kachin capital of Myitkyina on 4-5 November, UPWC indicated that the establishment of a federal army was not essential to building a federal union.
Naing Han Thar, General Secretary of the the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), an alliance of ethnic rebel groups, said that the government delegation agreed with most of their 11-point proposals in general but details were yet to be discussed.
He was quoted by the Radio Free Asia as saying: “If we want to create a federal union, we need to have a federal army. If the army is controlled by a small group of people, it is not proper for a federal union and it can’t guarantee [inclusion] for ethnic minorities.”
A statement released today said that the two parties reached a deal to proceed on issues relating to signing a nationwide ceasefire agreement, drafting a political dialogue framework, and holding a political dialogue.
However, the statement does not include detailed information as to when the signing of the nationwide ceasefire agreement would be held although the government proposed before the end of this month.
It also said that a follow-up meeting would be organized in Pa-An, the capital city of Karen State in December 2013.
The Myitkyina meeting followed a four-day conference held in Laiza, Kachin State last week, attended by leaders and representatives of 16 ethnic armed organizations. #