Four of 13 armed ethnic groups commit to peace
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.