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Ethnic Armed Resistance Organizations Reaffirm Unity at Law Khee Lar

By Ethnic Nationalities Affairs Center  •  June 11, 2015

On 2-9 June, the Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) held a Summit hosted by the Karen National Union (KNU) in Law Khee Lar, Karen State to discuss the draft of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, which was finalized on 30 March 2015 by the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) and the Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC).The Summit reviewed the NCA draft, but there are still remaining points to be negotiated.

17 ethnic armed organizations and a number of observers attended the Summit. ENAC observers attended, as did the Nippon Foundation’s observer Yuji Muri. China’s Asian Affairs Envoy Sun Guoxiang and United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advisor to Burma, Vijay Nambiar were also in attendance as observers. Mr. Nambiar asserted that “[w]e have been calling on both the government as well as the ethnic armed organizations to display the flexibility that is needed to bring about [change]. But you will not and should not make any change you do not believe in.The United Nations and the international community will support as you go along in the future.”

The Summit formed a new 15 member senior delegation to spearhead negotiations about the remaining points. Naw Zipporah Sein, KNU Vice Chairperson (also ENAC Board Treasurer) was elected as the Leader, Dr. La Ja, Kachin Independence Organization General Secretary (also ENAC Board Member) as Deputy Leader I, and Pu Zing Cung, Chin National Front Secretary General as Deputy Leader II.

Naw Zipporah Sein told ENAC that “Unity among the EAOs” was the major outcome of the Summit and the focus of the remaining points. Unity refers to the requirement that all 16 NCCT members sign the NCA, namely the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, and the Arakan Army, as well as three other NCCT members. The UPWC has not recognized these six organizations as signatories to the NCA.Though at the core of the Summit, these points are not new to negotiation for the EAOs. They have been agreed and reaffirmed at the previous EAO Summits in Laiza and Law Khee Lar. Also reiterated at the Summit was the need for more international witnesses to the signing in addition to the UN, China, and ASEAN. The EAOs require as witnesses the seven countries agreed upon at the earlier Laiza and Law Khee Lar Summits.

The next round of meetings will be between the new EAO 15 member senior delegation and the UPWC or UPCC, possibly including higher officials from the Government, the Military, and the
Parliament.

The press release also can be downloaded here.

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