Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ethnic bloc calls for nationwide cease-fire

Thursday, 15 November 2012 14:31 Mizzima News

Burma’s main ethnic bloc, the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), has echoed Naypyitaw’s proposal of a nationwide cease-fire, according to a report by the Independent Mon News Agency (IMNA).

Meeting on Friday in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, nine representatives of the UNFC met with an 8-member government delegation led by President’s Office Minister Aung Min.

According to IMNA, UNFC General-Secretary Nai Hong Sar said that the ethnic delegation had urged the government to: declare a nationwide ceasefire; settle political issues using only political channels; finalize cease-fire agreements with all Burma’s resistance groups; work together toward resolving the ongoing conflict in Kachin State.

The UNFC meets with a Burmese government delegation in Chiang Mai, November 9, 2012. (Facebook)

“U Aung Min has already raised the [issue of] declaring a nationwide ceasefire with President Thein Sein, so that should be handled by the President. [The government delegation] accepts the other points that we proposed,” Nai Hong Sar is quoted as saying.

He reportedly added that the UNFC also presented its “six-point ethnic peace roadmap” to Aung Min at the meeting, but said that the issue would be addressed during the next round of talks.

Mizzima reported on Friday that Aung Min’s delegation also met with members of the exiled All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) on November 9 and with the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) the following day.

The 11-member UNFC was formed in February 2011, and comprises the main ethnic armed groups, including the KNPP, the Chin National Front, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the Karen National Union, and the New Mon State Party.

While 10 UNFC members have signed cease-fires with the government, only one armed group, the KIO, is still holding negotiations on the matter. Conflict continues to rage in KIO-controlled areas.

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