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The Burmese government should stop excluding a handful of ethic armies from the peace process and should not consider the Kokang rebels to be foreign enemies, according to the head of the United Nationalities Federal Council ethnic coalition.
UNFC Chairman Lt-Gen N’Ban La urged the government to include all UNFC and Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) member organisations in a future nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA).
Naypyidaw has previously made clear its position that any peace deal should not include the Kokang militia known as the Myanmar Nationalities Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the Ta-ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) or the Arakan Army (AA), all of whom its forces are currently battling.
“The Kokang and Ta-ang groups are UNFC and NCCT members and we believe that they should also be included in an NCA which would reflect the term ‘nationwide’,” said N’Ban La, who is also vice-chairman of the Kachin Independence Army.
“I would like to urge [armed groups] to continue with their stance of all-inclusiveness for the NCA,” he said.
Various ethnic armed group leaders are currently convened at the Karen National Union (KNU)’s Law Khee La headquarters in eastern Burma’s Karen State. The meeting was called to discuss the details of a draft NCA text that was agreed between the NCCT and government negotiators on 31 March, and to decide whether the agreement should be signed.
Speaking to DVB from the summit, MNDAA representative Hpone Win Naing said that the group’s attempts to reach out to the government are being rebuffed.
“We were hoping to talk about a ceasefire and making peace, but the government is completely ignoring us,” he said.
Attendees of the Law Khee La summit that kicked off on 2 June include the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Burma Vijay Nambiar and Chinese Special Envoy Sun Guo Xiang.