Four of 13 armed eth­nic groups com­mit to peace

Mizzima Business Weekly - - AFFAIRS // NEWS -

A com­mit­ment to peace and na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion was signed by four of 13 armed eth­nic groups rep­re­sented at a cer­e­mony held on Fe­bru­ary 12 to mark Union Day.

The cer­e­mony, hosted by the gov­ern­ment, also saw 55 of 61 po­lit­i­cal par­ties sign the deed of com­mit­ment for peace and na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

The four armed eth­nic groups that signed were the Karen Na­tional Union, Demo­cratic Karen Benev­o­lent Army, the KNU/KNLA Peace Coun­cil and the Shan State Army.

Pres­i­dent U Thein Sein had urged ear­lier this year that armed eth­nic groups sign a na­tional cease­fire agree­ment to mark Union Day.

The Pres­i­dent said that as the cease­fire could not be signed as pro­posed, armed eth­nic groups and po­lit­i­cal par­ties needed to make a com­mit­ment to con­tinue ef­forts for peace.

Some armed eth­nic groups and po­lit­i­cal par­ties at the cer­e­mony said they did not sign the com­mit­ment be­cause they were not told of it in ad­vance and did not have enough time to dis­cuss it with their or­gan­i­sa­tions. They in­cluded Shan Na­tion­al­i­ties League for Democ­racy chair­man U Khun Htun Oo who said he did not have his party’s man­date to sign.

Those who signed pledged to build a union based on demo­cratic and fed­eral prin­ci­ples in line with the out­come of po­lit­i­cal dia­logue, to strive for a na­tional cease­fire ac­cord as soon as pos­si­ble and to draft a frame­work for a po­lit­i­cal dia­logue to be held ahead of the gen­eral elec­tion due later this year.

They also pledged to pre­vent armed clashes dur­ing the peace process.

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