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The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) ethnic alliance has expressed its doubts over the Burmese military’s commitment to the peace process.
“We have urged the government to negotiate with ethnic armed groups by peaceful means, but we have not yet heard any positive response from their side,” said Khu Oo Reh, the UNFC general-secretary, adding that the ongoing outbreak of hostilities could effectively halt the peace process.
Speaking to DVB on Thursday, the UNFC general-secretary said, “Moreover, we are hearing mixed statements from government leaders with regard to the peace process and the 2015 elections.”
The UNFC held its first plenary meeting from 20- 22 October at an undisclosed location near the Thai-Burmese border where it discussed political and military issues related to the ongoing peace process and ceasefire negotiations, as well as matters related to humanitarian relief and the rehabilitation of internally displaced persons.
The ethnic bloc released a statement at the conclusion of the summit expressing doubts that peace will prevail; it cited Burmese army offensives against ethnic positions in Kachin, Shan and Karen states as reasons for the mistrust.
Concluding last week’s conference, the UNFC said it had agreed to continue with peace and ceasefire talks.
The umbrella group is made up of 12 ethnic militias and has sat with government delegations in recent months for several rounds of talks aimed at securing a nationwide ceasefire. One of its main partners, the Karen National Union, in September suspended its membership from the bloc.