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The Ethnic Armed Organisations Conference in Karen National Union’s headquarters Law Khee La has concluded.
Eighteen ethnic armed groups discussed and agreed a draft framework for a nationwide ceasefire. Gen. Gun Maw Sumlat from the Kachin Independence Army pointed out the importance of this positive approach.
“Reaching a nationwide ceasefire agreement will be the first step towards the political dialogue that is longed for by all parties, and we are working to ensure a positive and firm start with that dialogue,” he said.
Lt-Gen. N’Ban from the Kachin Independence Organisation emphasized how reforming Burma into a federal union will be impossible without support from the Burman people who are the majority in the country.
“In order to realise our ambition we need to work harder to bring unity,” he said. “To fulfil our dream for a genuine federal union based on national spirit, we need support from the Burman people. Without their agreement, the federal union will never be formed.”
On the fourth day of the conference – 23 January – the groups reached a mutual agreement on the framework for a ceasefire, which they said would be given some final touches the following day.
The fruits of the ethnic conference will now be taken to negotiations with a Burmese government delegation – a meeting which has twice been postponed – but which is now scheduled to take place in Karen state capital Hpa-an in February.