EAOs Call For Inclusive Peace Talks In Naypyidaw

By Network Media Group
Thursday, May 12, 2022

Three prominent ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) fighting with Burma’s military regime demanded that the upcoming peace talks with the military be more inclusive after the interim National Unity Government and the People’s Defence Forces were excluded.

The Karen National Union, the Karen National Progressive Party (KNPP) and the Chin National Front (CNF) issued a joint statement on Monday after announcing they would boycott the Naypyidaw meeting, the date of which hasn’t yet been set.

CNF spokesperson Salai Htet Ni told NMG that the peace talks must be accountable and it would be better if they were held in a third country. “All stakeholders must be invited. And we need the participation of mediators like the UN and the international community.”

The joint statement said the army must stop its offensives and military expansion throughout the country. The EAOs have long called for political dialogue to solve the problems of the Southeast Asian nation and establish a federal union. For this, everyone must sit down at the same table.

Aung San Myint, second secretary of the KNPP, told the NMG that before the EAOs come to an agreement with State Administration Council (SAC) leader and army chief Min Aung Hlaing, they need assurances that the army will stop its attacks against them.

”They’re using heavy artillery, fighter jets, etc. They must stop violating human rights in the areas where the ethnic groups live.” If they continue to target the EAOs and the people and exclude many of the groups that are actively fighting against the regime, the peace talks will be “meaningless”.

Salai Htet Ni said SAC must announce a ceasefire with all armed groups and allow international aid agencies unfettered access to internally displaced persons in need of humanitarian assistance.

By excluding the parallel government and all the PDFs, Min Aung Hlaing is trying to sidestep the real political crisis in Burma, says the Chin leader. He’s pursuing a “political exit strategy” against the people who’re rising up in revolution against the dictatorship.

Ta’ang National Liberation Army spokesman Col Mai Aik Kyaw said they’ll not participate on their own. But if the Federal Political Negotiation Consultative Council (FPNCC), of which the EAO is a member, decides to attend, they’ll also come.

The FPNCC members, the United Wa State Army, the National Democratic Alliance Army and the Shan State Progress Party, will attend the talks in Naypyidaw. The Arakan Army, which is also a member of the council, hasn’t yet announced its position, but the Kachin Independence Organisation won’t attend the talks in Burma’s capital.

Regime spokesman Maj Gen Zaw Min Tun told the BBC Burmese edition that the other EAOs attending the talks are the Karen National Liberation Army-Peace Council, the Pa-O National Liberation Organisation, the Arakan Liberation Party, the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, the New Mon State Party, the Restoration Council of Shan State and the Lahu Democratic Union.

None of the groups that have announced their attendance are actively fighting against the regime.