Thursday, April 2, 2009

KNU demands international community rescue Burma

by Salai Pi Pi

New Delhi (Mizzima) – An armed ethnic Burmese resistance group, Karen National Union (KNU), has urged the international community to take stern action against Burma's military regime in order to restore peace and stability in the volatile Southeast Asian country.

Saw David Takapaw, vice-president of the Karen National Union (KNU), which is waging the world's longest running civil war against the Burmese regime, on Thursday said the international community’s concerted and timely action against the junta is needed in order to address the political deadlock inside the country.

“We made the call as we [opposition groups and the Burmese regime], by ourselves, cannot successfully address the problem at this time,” Takapaw told Mizzima.

Takapaw continued, “For example we [KNU] have been waging war against the Burmese regime for nearly six decades but there has been no tangible result to come of it,” adding, “We think it is better if the international community solves the problem."

The KNU in its statement on the peace effort released on Saturday also said that the widespread use of drugs and the country's poor record on human rights, refugees, human trafficking and illegal migrant workers, have all negatively affected the international community and now threaten global peace.

“Drugs are spreading to the region and there are many illegal migrant workers staying in neighboring countries. Burma has become an international problem,” Takapaw implored.

Moreover, the KNU reminded the international community to be conscious of the true ideology of the Burmese regime when approaching them, warning, “otherwise their good intentions will be easily defeated.”

The KNU, and its armed wing the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), has held talks with the Burmese regime on five previous occasions since launching their campaign for self-determination in 1948.

The two sides were able to reach a verbal ceasefire agreement, commonly known as the “Gentlemen's Agreement," after the last round of formal talks between the KNU’s late leader, General Bo Mya, and former military intelligence chief, General Khin Nyunt, in the former capital of Rangoon in 2004. The talks, however, came to a standstill after Khin Nyunt was purged from the military hierarchy.

The KNU, in Thursday's statement, said, “Peace negotiations between the KNU and successive Burmese regimes have consistently failed because sincerity was lacking on the side of the regimes in power.”

Last month, the Burmese military, during Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya’s two-day visit to Burma, asked Thailand to persuade the KNU to contest the upcoming 2010 election.

However, Takapaw last month said the KNU will only hold talks with the Burmese regime if they are genuinely aimed at addressing the ongoing conflict in Burma.

“If the regime is willing to solve problems in peaceful ways, we are ready to talk with them,” said Takapaw, adding that the KNU will insist the regime first convene a tripartite dialogue and amend the constitution.

The KNU in their statement further reiterated that the government, without reform, will continue to violate the democratic rights of the people and commit human rights violations in the country well after the culmination of the 2010 elections. As a result, argues the KNU, the ethnic resistance will continue and the country will remain unstable – politically, socially and economically.

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