December 13, 2016
To inform the wider public, the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) would like to clarify the situations regarding peace talks and military offensives on the ground.
1. As the civil war, which has been going on for nearly 70 years in Burma/Myanmar, is rooted in political problem, the UNFC has steadfastly upheld the position that the war must be resolved politically through dialogue and negotiation. The UNFC resolutely believes that the country will be able to stand as a peaceful and prosperous State only if a democratic federal union is established after the conclusive termination of the civil war and the establishment of genuine peace.
2. In accordance with that belief, the UNFC member organizations have consistently striven since the days of U Thein Sein Government to establish peace in the country from the phase of initiating a valid nationwide ceasefire based on consultation and negotiation, inclusive of all the organizations involved in the war raging extensively in the country.
3. To resolve the fundamental problem, the UNFC recognizes the factual problems existing and maintains the process of correctly approaching the problems with serenity, patience and good intention in dialogue and negotiation. Throughout the period of ceasefire talks, although the Myanmar Tatmadaw (Military) discriminated against some organizations, excluding them from signing the ceasefire or joining the political dialogue, and launching military offensives, the UNFC has continued to talk and negotiate up to this day. This is the determination upheld by the ethnic armed resistance organizations for the emergence of genuine peace from the phase of valid ceasefire.
4. While on an election campaign in Pa-oh Self-administered Region, on September 5, 2015, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said “ It is most important that the ceasefire agreement should be genuine, durable and acceptable to all the ethnic nationalities, relevant political parties and forces; It should not be an agreement signed today and the resumption of shooting the next day; Time is not important; I would like to say definitely that genuineness is the most important; If the NLD becomes the government, it shall interact honestly and openly with the ethnic nationalities; The promise given shall remain firm; I promise that it shall not become a party that does not keep promises; Relevant stakeholders shall be allowed to participate in peace building; It shall be transparent; A situation must be created for the people in the country and all the relevant persons to know the progress of peace talks.”
5. Observing the facts, it is clear that the peace process would benefit by following Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s promises. We seek to negotiate our 9-points for the signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), to make limited necessary improvements and to achieve the promised genuine, durable, and mutually acceptable ceasefire agreement. Instead of trying to resolve the issue of the Tatmadaw attacking some of the ethnic armed resistance organizations from the air and from the ground, the present NLD-led new government, inheriting the non-inclusive and non-nationwide NCA, is only endeavoring to hold a Peace Conference once again, after limiting the time for negotiations and holding minimal talks on signing the NCA. Apparently, even if all cannot participate, it is going to try and realize peace with the organizations that could follow. This indicates that it is not headed towards nationwide peace and stability.
6. The NLD government inherited the current situation of excluding certain ethnic armed resistance organizations from the NCA and each following step of the political roadmap, which has only led to increasing problems for the country. The government has the power to correct these errors, which we are also trying to do, in the interest of a nationwide sustainable peace. In October 2015, brandishing the upcoming general election as a pretext, the President U Thein Sein government pushed for the immediate signing of the ceasefire agreement, excluding certain ethnic armed resistance organizations, instead of the involving all the stakeholders that had participated in the ceasefire negotiation. Only eight out of more than twenty ethnic armed resistance organizations signed it, meaning that it is not nationwide. The following steps in the NCA’s political roadmap, from the political framework drafting and approval on, have likewise not been inclusive or nationwide. Holding the Union Peace Conferences and 21st Century Panglong Conferences, which are the Fourth Step of the roadmap and are scheduled to next take place in February 2017, without finalization of each step by all stakeholders is harmful to the NCA and the peace process. The same is true of the national political dialogue, the Third Step, now being undertaken. Accordingly, if the work continues to proceed in accordance with the path of NCA, there are basic reasons for reviewing the NCA process. However, since the Myanmar Tatmadaw does not accept the reviewing of the NCA, we, the UNFC, are negotiating and looking for an answer with our 9-point proposal for the signing of the NCA, so that internal peace building may progress smoothly.
7. Although the new government is saying that by the terms “relevant stakeholders” it directly signifies the organizations, which are involved in and related to the problem, and it extends the invitation to participate with good intention, amity, tolerance and patience, in practice the government is not preparing the field for all-inclusiveness. It is pressuring for the signing of NCA by launching military offensives. What was worse than that was the government’s total inaction to prevent the Myanmar Tatmadaw’s massive military offensives starting in August 2016, in Kachin State and Northern Shan State. Moreover, it was amazing that the NLD government did not say a word or take any steps regarding the Myanmar Tatmadaw’s blocking of international and local organizations’ aid to people in abject distress, in accordance with its military strategy of the Four Cuts. In contrast, after the 20th of November when some of the ethnic armed resistance organizations inevitably had to launch a counter attack, the President’s Office, Chief of Defense Services Office and the State Counsellor herself issued press releases denouncing the ethnic armed resistance organizations and lauding the Tatmadaw. It is incredible to see and is unbefitting a government seeking peace, as it is not only petty-minded but also responding to the problem with a one-sided view lacking an understanding of the plight of the people.
8. As a governing entity of the country, it is necessary for the NLD government to try and find the answer correctly based on the root of the country’s problem, in detail, and in consideration of the aspirations and true attitude of the ethnic nationalities. It is important not to ignore the circumstances of the ethnic nationalities, who had aided, supported and voted for the NLD in the elections and during the entire period while it was in the opposition.
9. In more than 50 years of its rule of the country, the Myanmar Tatmadaw had not only reduced the county to Least of Least Developed Country status, but it had also committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. By covering itself in the hide of 2008 Constitution, it has been trying to escape from justice permanently. Moreover, taking advantage of the 2008 Constitution, which was forcibly adopted without the will of the people, the trying by it forcibly in the Shan State Parliament to brand some ethnic armed resistance organizations, which have not signed the NCA as terrorist organizations, in contravention of the democratic practices and in abuse of the executive, judicial and legislative pillars, intentionally destroying the peace process undertaken by the current NLD government.
10. If it is true that the 21st Century Panlong Conference is based on the Panlong Spirit, then the pledges made in Panlong, principles for Nucleus of the Union, and the terms of the Panlong Agreement agreement cannot be disregarded. If they continue to be disregarded, genuine internal peace and national reconciliation will still be far away.
11. Hence, it necessary to create a good environment in which peaceful dialogue and negotiation can be held and arrange for all-inclusiveness, for the establishment of a genuine democratic federal union. With this statement, we would like to inform that our UNFC, will continue to stand for all-inclusiveness, seek dialogue with the government, and endeavor for the people and the international community to be able to help and support the process.
Central Executive Committee
The United Nationalities Federal Council
PDF File Download 20161213 UNFC Statement on Current Peace Process