14 July 2011

Ethnic leaders present ceasefire proposal to EU


SEVERAL ethnic leaders reported to EU officials about the ongoing conflicts in eastern Burma at a July 9 meeting in Bangkok at which they also called for the EU to broker political dialogue between Burma's government and its ethnic groups.

Leaders of an umbrella group of ethnic parties, the United Nationalities Federation Council (UNFC), told the European delegation that Burmese government forces had attacked the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in northern Burma last month in a bid to protect Naypyidaw's business interests with China, said Nai Hang Thar, the secretary of the UNFC.

Nai Hang Thar, who is also secretary of the New Mon State Party, said the UNFC representatives had told the EU that thousands of refugees have been created as a result of the armed conflict.

“The ethnic leaders requested the EU to help them find solutions to the problems in Burma through political dialogue,” he said.

The KIA’s political wing, the Kachin Independence Organization, which is a member of the UNFC, has proposed—via the UNFC—a ceasefire to the new government.

“The KIO wants the UNFC to lead peace talks,” said Nai Hang Thar.

According to a KIO draft of a proposed ceasefire agreement, the KIA will only agree to a six-month ceasefire if Naypyidaw commits to a political dialogue in which the UNFC plays a leading role. Full story at The Irrawaddy

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