Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ethnic armed groups summit in Laiza ends with call for federal union

Leaders from 16 Burma's ethnic armed groups held a summit on a nationwide ceasefire agreement in Laiza from July 25 - 29 - 2014.

A summit of representatives from 16 of Burma's armed ethnic groups ended on Tuesday following four days of talks in Laiza, the capital of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). The KIO was hosting the summit which is the third meeting of its kind to be held in less than a year. A previous round of talks was held in Laiza in November last year while another meeting was held in the Karen National Union (KNU) territory in January.

All of the armed groups who attended were members of the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), a body tasked with hammering out a common position amongst the armed groups as they prepare for further negotiations with Burma's nominally civilian government.

The KIO is the largest armed rebel group in the NCCT which also includes 15 other groups including the KNU, Burma's oldest armed ethnic group.

Those participating in the meeting agreed to a series of 10 points that will be raised in future talks with the government's Peace-Making Work Committee (PMWC).  Most of the 10 points adopted have been raised before this includes calls for creating a genuine federal system for the country.

The New Mon State Party's leader Nai Hong Sar told reporters in Laiza on the last day of the summit that talks with the central government have stalled because the government has refused to accept that ethnic groups have a right to equality and self-administration.

Representatives from the NCCT are expected to hold further talks this week with officials from the All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF), a KIO ally that is not in the NCCT. Discussions are also expected between the NCCT and a Naga group.


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