Wednesday, January 11, 2012

NMSP postpones peace talks


Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:14 Kun Chan

(Mizzima) – Claiming it’s obligated to conduct special Mon events in January, the New Mon State Party (NMSP) has told the Burmese government that the next round of peace talks will have to be scheduled at a later date.

“We will be busy until January 20, so we don’t have time [for conducting peace talk],” NMSP general secretary Nai Hong Sar told Mizzima.

The eighth NMSP party conference was held from December 21 to January 7 at Ye Chaung Phya, the location of the NMSP headquarters. The sixth Mon National Seminar will be held from January 18-20 at a location in a liberated area, officials said.

The Mon National Seminar is a key event for the Mon people, and local and foreign Mon political and social organizations. The main topic during the seminar will be the cease-fire negotiations, officials said.

The NMSP met with the Union-level government peace making delegation at a preliminary talk on December 22. The government delegation offered to continue the talks in January.

The NMSP follows the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) policy of calling for a nationwide cease-fire and a political dialogue with all ethnic armed groups as soon as possible after fighting has been stopped.

“We told them that in the previous talks. To achieve a mutual understanding, they need to stop fighting at the same time in all areas where fighting is going on. It is not acceptable that they continue fierce fighting in one area while they stop fighting in another area,” said Nai Hong Sar.

Recently, government peace delegations have continued peace talks with ethnic armed groups, government troops are still fighting with the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), a member group of the UNFC.

Although the UNFC, as a group, wants a nationwide cease-fire, the Chin National Front (CNF), a group member of the UNFC, signed a cease-fire agreement with the Burmese government on January 6.

Similarly, the United Wa State Army, Mong La Special Area-4 and the Restoration Council of the Shan State / Shan State Army have signed cease-fire agreements with the Burmese government in recent months.

Moreover, the Karen National Union (KNU), a member group of UNFC, will meet with the government’s Union-level peace making delegation on Thursday in the Zwekabin Hotel in Hpaan, Karen State.

A KNU statement issued on Wednesday said, “These talks are being initiated as preliminary discussions towards a cease-fire agreement, which would be a first step towards solving the longstanding political conflict between the ethnic nationalities and the Burmese government.”

The delegation of the Karen National Liberation Army (the armed wing of the KNU) led by Commander in Chief General Mutu Saypo and the KNLA brigade chiefs will meet with the state government delegation led by Karen State Chief Minister Braider General Zaw Min.

 Observers say the signing of an agreement is possible, because the two sides have already held three preliminary talks.

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