On February 9th the government’s Union Peace-Making Working Committee (UPWC) refused the UNFC’s request to resume peace talks with representatives of UNFC member organizations and other ethnic armed groups.
“For our side, UNFC members planned to participate in talks, but they [the UPWC] did not invite the whole UNFC, instead extending an invitation to individual groups. They [the UPWC] informed us that they would not agree to us presenting [our points] as the UNFC as a whole,” said Nai Hongsar.
Nai Hongsar stated that, in principle, the government has already accepted political agreements to establish a federal union in Burma; however, the government rejected specific points that the UNFC had submitted in regards to what the president said about the proposed federal union, and inquiries as to what the government’s idea of a federal union would look like.
According to Nai Hongsar, the government informed the UNFC that it has not yet produced a specific policy framework for the creation of a federal union, but has informed the UNFC that the foundation of a federal union will be discussed further based on results from future peace talks.
“In fact,” said Nai Hongsar, “the government is [currently] unable to provide the precise promise [agreeing] to establish a federal union. They [the government] are just talking [about a federal union in Burma] superficially; they cannot give a promise, and cannot sign in agreement to it.”
Concerned with this uncertainty, the UNFC released a statement yesterday, February 11th, coinciding with the group’s proposal to resume talks with the government, in which the UNFC maintained that in the Republic of the Union of Burma (Myanmar), a genuine federal union must be established based on a democracy, in which all states enjoy full rights of national equality and self-determination. The UNFC firmly vowed that, based on this agreement, the group would continue its efforts to obtain and implement a nationwide ceasefire agreement.
Currently, the UPWC is holding meetings with individual ethnic armed groups in Nay Pyi Taw, in which the government and armed groups discuss the possibility of signing ceasefire agreements on Burma’s 68th Union Day.
Notably, at the Karen National Union (KNU) Central Committee Conference, held on February 3-7th, the KNU determined that, at the moment, it is impossible to obtain an agreement for a nationwide ceasefire accord.
Both the UPWC and the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) have been working diligently to secure 7thround ceasefire talks after Union Day.