Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Junta meets leaders of ethnic ceasefire groups

by Myo Gyi

Ruili (Mizzima) – In a renewed effort to persuade ceasefire armed groups to join them, Burma’s military junta on Tuesday met with six Sino-Burmese border based ethnic armed ceasefire groups.

The junta’s Military Affairs Security (MAS) Chief Maj. Gen. Ye Myint and regional command commanders met ethnic leaders of six ceasefire groups on Tuesday, separately at the same time in their respective regions.

Northern Command Commander Maj. Gen. Soe Win met 'Kachin Independence Organization' (KIO) and the 'New Democratic Army' (Kachin) – (NDA-K) from Kachin State at its command HQ in Myitkyina, separately in the morning and evening respectively, political and military analyst Aung Kyaw Zaw, based on the Sino-Burma border told Mizzima.

The ceasefire groups from Shan State (North) namely 'United Wa State Solidarity Party' (UWSP), 'Shan State Army (North) (SSA-N), 'Myanmar National Democratic Allied Army' (MNDAA) and 'National Democratic Allied Army' (NDAA) met MAS Chief Maj. Gen. Ye Myint and the Northeast Command Commander separately.

The UWSP held its meeting in Tangyan, Shan State (North) and the 171st Military Region met in Kengtung, eastern Shan State separately. Aung Kyaw Zaw said that it was unusual and significant to see the UWSP meeting in Tangyan, rather than the usual venue of Lashio.

"The Northern Command Commander was due to meet KIA on April 28 in the morning at about 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. The Zakhung Teng Ying group will meet at about 1:30 p.m. As for the Northeast Command, the Command Commander will meet SSA-N at Ruili Guesthouse in Lashio and Laokaing Region Commander Brig. Gen. Win Maung will meet the Kokang group in Laokaing in the evening," he said.

Maj. Gen. Ye Myint met the most powerful ceasefire group UWSA, in Tangyang in the morning and met the 171st military region in southern Wa State and arranged to meet NDAA in Kengtung, it was learnt.

The junta informed these ceasefire groups in advance to bring the military commanders of their groups along with their leaders.
(JEG's: the junta gave them an order :) )

Aung Kyaw Zaw said that it had been suggested that the discussions between them would focus on military affairs before the ensuing 2010 elections and there would be no concrete results from these meetings. These ceasefire groups would continue in keeping with their own plans in the meantime.

The speeches delivered at the functions by their respective leaders revealed that the ceasefire groups were unlikely to accept being disarming and reorganization of their forces. The unilaterally drafted and approved 2008 Constitution was also totally unacceptable to them.

They would discuss only the general issue of reorganizing the ethnic armed forces as border security and administrative forces under the respective military commands. This is one step lower than the junta's previous demand of laying down arms. The conclusion drawn from the non-existence of open confrontation by the ceasefire groups against the junta, that they would do whatever the junta said, is totally wrong, Aung Kyaw Zaw said.

"It is likely that some leaders will be alienated from their respective organizations and they will enter politics by forming a political party. Some would be with their forces and it is unlikely that they will surrender their forces to the junta within 1 or 2 years. Some organizations such as KDA and Zakhung Teng Ying would do such a thing. But I do not think other organizations would do any such thing," he said.

Some leaders from ethnic Kachin armed groups in Kachin State are planning to form a Kachin State Progressive Party and those who join this party must resign from their mother organizations.

The current meetings suggest the dilemma among them. For the ceasefire groups, reigniting armed resistance at this moment is both impractical and impossible.

The ceasefire groups were unavailable for comment.

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