Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) members’ summit concluded Tuesday after four days of intense meeting at KIO administrative capital Laiza. Naing Han Thar, NCCT leader, said during a press briefing after the summit that the essence of the summit’s outcome is ethnic leaders agree to stand on a common principle to have democracy, equal rights, self-determination and to build a genuine federal union.
Ethnic leaders also approve a common position of 10-point principles for NCCT members in negotiations with Burmese government delegation.
Naing Han Thar said successive Burmese governments never tried to solve political problems through political dialogues in Burma. Burmese governments always saw ethnic armed revolution groups as terrorists and narrow minded people creating chaos in the country.
He said no ethnic-based armed group has been totally eliminated in over 60 years of civil war in Burma despite continual efforts by successive Burmese governments. “Today’s situations demand to solve political problems through negotiations,“ said Nai Han Thar.
After Thein Sein’s government took power in Burma, ethnic armed groups were invited for dialogues to solve decades old grievances. Naing Han Thar said he can’t yet tell whether government’s invitation for political dialogues is honest and genuine given today’s political circumstances. He said ethnic nationalities came together to form a united front as their basic demands are the same.
Dr. Lian Hmung Sakhong, NCCT member from Chin National Front, said he expects progress in negotiation with government delegation as NCCT has been given authority to negotiate with government delegation on technical matters except basic principles set by ethnic leaders.
When asked what kind of federal system ethnic nationalities wants, Padoh Kwe Htoo Win of KNU, said today’s formation of states and divisions is a form of union but not a form of genuine federal union. In a federal union, every state should have equal rights and self determination with its own constitution. The details of whether a federal union should be based on 8 states are to be discussed during political negotiation process, said Kwe Htoo Win.
On question of period between signing of a nationwide ceasefire agreement and a national conference by Irrawaddy, Colonel Khun Okker, NCCT member from PNLO, said ethnic armed organizations need assurance for their survival and for self defense during this period as past experiences had shown that some armed groups disappeared before they could have a political settlement with government.
NCCT’s 16 member organizations, UNFC, RCSS/SSA and ABSDF will begin Ethnic Armed Organizations’ Summit today at Laiza’s Padang Hall. UWSA, Mongla (NDAA-ESS), and NSCN-K have also been invited to attend EAOs’ summit, but declined.