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Allied in War, Divided in Peace

Allied in War, Divided in Peace

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Published by: Thaw Thi Kho on Mar 13, 2013
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03/13/2013

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B
RIEFING
 
P
APER
 
N
O
.12
 
F
EBRUARY
 
2013
 
A
LLIED
 
IN
 
W
AR
,
 
D
IVIDED
 
IN
 
P
EACE
 
T
HE
 
F
UTURE
 
OF
 
E
THNIC
 
U
NITY
 
IN
 
B
URMA
 
On
 
20
 
February
 
2013,
 
the
 
United
 
Nationalities
 
Federal
 
Council
 
(UNFC)
 
an
 
11
 
member
 
ethnic
 
alliance
1
 
met
 
with
 
the
 
Burmese
 
Government’s
 
Union
 
Peace
 
Working
 
Committee
 
(UPWC)
 
at
 
the
 
Holiday
 
Inn,
 
Chiang
 
Mai,
 
Thailand.
 
The
 
meeting,
 
supported
 
by
 
the
 
Nippon
 
Foundation,
 
was
 
an
 
attempt
 
by
 
Government
 
negotiators
 
to
 
include
 
all
 
relevant
 
actors
 
in
 
the
 
peace
 
process.
 
The
 
UNFC
 
is
 
seen
 
as
 
one
 
of 
 
the
 
last
 
remaining
 
actors
 
to
 
represent
 
the
 
various
 
armed
 
ethnic
 
groups
 
in
 
the
 
country
 
(for
 
more
 
information
 
see
 
BP
 
No.6
 
Establishing
 
a
 
Common
 
Framework)
 
and
 
has
 
frequently
 
sought
 
to
 
negotiate
 
terms
 
as
 
an
 
inclusive
 
ethnic
 
alliance.
 
The
 
alliance
 
was
 
formed
 
at
 
a
 
time
 
of 
 
serious
 
concern
 
amongst
 
ethnic
 
ceasefire
 
groups
 
in
 
relation
 
to
 
the
 
Border
 
Guard
 
Force
 
issue
 
which
 
many
 
believed
 
threatened
 
their
 
existence.
 
Consequently,
 
two
 
former
 
ceasefire
 
groups
 
the
 
KIO
 
and
 
the
 
NMSP
 
allied
 
with
 
non
ceasefire
 
groups
 
like
 
the
 
Karen
 
National
 
Union
 
to
 
form
 
an
 
all
inclusive
 
bulwark
 
against
 
the
 
Government
 
which
 
was
 
to
 
include
 
the
 
formation
 
of 
 
a
 
single
 
federal
 
army.
 
After
 
the
 
Restoration
 
Council
 
of 
 
Shan
 
State/Shan
 
State
 
Army
 
 –
 
South
 
(RCSS/SSA)
 
held
 
its
 
first
 
meeting
 
with
 
the
 
Burmese
 
government
 
on
 
the
 
19
 
November
 
2011
 
and
 
agreed
 
to
 
a
 
nominal
 
ceasefire,
 
a
 
number
 
of 
 
other
 
armed
 
ethnic
 
groups
 
followed
 
suit.
 
While
 
the
 
RCSS/SSA
 
had
 
not
 
been
 
a
 
member
 
of 
 
the
 
UNFC
 
other
 
groups
 
that
 
had
 
been
 
founding
 
members,
 
including
 
the
 
Karen
 
National
 
Union
 
(KNU),
 
Chin
 
National
 
Front
 
(CNF),
 
Karenni
 
National
 
Progressive
 
Party
 
(KNPP)
 
and
 
the
 
New
 
Mon
 
State
 
Party
 
(NMSP),
 
soon
 
made
 
individual
 
agreements
 
with
 
the
 
Government.
 
While
 
the
 
UNFC
 
had
 
agreed,
 
albeit
 
begrudgingly,
 
individual
 
members
 
could
 
negotiate
 
as
 
single
 
entities,
 
the
 
various
 
peace
 
processes
 
began
 
to
 
fracture
 
the
 
unity
 
of 
 
the
 
organisation
 
as
 
individual
 
members
 
have
 
been
 
unable
 
to
 
find
 
a
 
truly
 
common
 
consensus
 
in
 
relation
 
to
 
negotiations
 
with
 
the
 
Government.
 
While
 
the
 
UNFC
 
could
 
have
 
assumed
 
the
 
mantle
 
of 
 
consolidation
 
and
 
promoting
 
ethnic
 
unity,
 
it
 
has
 
primarily
 
relied
 
on
 
issuing
 
statements
 
supportive
 
of 
 
ethnic
 
unity
 
but
 
has
 
failed
 
to
 
act
 
to
 
cement
 
it.
 
1
 
Editor:
 
Lian
 
H.
 
Sakhong
 
|
 
Author:
 
Paul
 
Keenan
 
 
2
 
Editor:
 
Lian
 
H.
 
Sakhong
 
|
 
Author:
 
Paul
 
Keenan
 
Perhaps
 
one
 
of 
 
its
 
most
 
important
 
actions,
 
in
 
relation
 
to
 
unity,
 
was
 
its
 
participation
 
at
 
a
 
conference
 
of 
 
armed
 
ethnic
 
movements
 
held
 
from
 
the
 
26
28
 
February
 
2012.
 
The
 
conference,
 
attended
 
by
 
members
 
of 
 
the
 
KNU,
 
KIO,
 
KNPP,
 
CNF,
 
RCSS,
 
NMSP,
 
and
 
PNLO,
 
agreed
 
to
 
a
 
common
 
framework
 
to
 
guide
 
members
 
in
 
the
 
negotiation
 
process.
2
 
The
 
participants
 
agreed
 
a
 
three
 
stage
 
peace
 
plan:
 
1.
 
Ceasefire,
 
2.
 
Implementation
 
of 
 
agreements
 
3.
 
Political
 
Dialogue
 
It
 
was
 
also
 
agreed
 
that
 
a
 
working
 
group
 
would
 
be
 
formed
 
to
 
further
 
develop
 
a
 
common
 
set
 
of 
 
principles
 
and
 
plans
 
for
 
the
 
peace
 
process.
 
As
 
a
 
result,
 
the
 
Working
 
Group
 
on
 
Ethnic
 
Coordination
 
(WGEC)
 
was
 
formed
 
in
 
June
 
2012.
 
The
 
WGEC
 
consists
 
of 
 
representatives
 
from
 
the
 
7
 
states
 
plus
 
advisers
 
and,
 
following
 
an
 
Ethnic
 
Nationalities
 
Conference
 
in
 
September
 
2012,
 
representatives
 
from
 
Civil
 
Society
 
Organizations
 
(2each
 
from
 
youth,
 
women
 
and
 
issue
based
 
CBOs).
3
 
The
 
group,
 
which
 
is
 
supported
 
financially
 
by
 
the
 
Euro
Burma
 
Office,
 
meets
 
monthly
 
to
 
update
 
members
 
and
 
discuss
 
the
 
peace
 
process.
4
As
 
a
 
result
 
of 
 
the
 
various
 
WGEC
 
meetings,
 
UNFC
 
members
 
ostensibly
 
agreed,
 
at
 
a
 
September
 
2012
 
ethnic
 
conference,
 
that
 
the
 
following
 
six
 
points
 
would
 
need
 
to
 
be
 
addressed
 
for
 
the
 
peace
 
process
 
to
 
move
 
forward:
 
1.
 
Meeting
 
of 
 
armed
 
and
 
civil
 
society
 
organizations
 
to
 
lay
 
down
 
points
 
to
 
be
 
included
 
in
 
the
 
Framework
 
for
 
Political
 
Dialogue.
 
2.
 
Meeting
 
between
 
the
 
Union
 
government
 
and
 
the
 
armed
 
movements’
 
representatives
 
to
 
establish
 
the
 
Framework
 
for
 
Political
 
Dialogue
 
3.
 
Conferences
 
of 
 
the
 
ethnic
 
people
 
in
 
state
 
and
 
regions
 
4.
 
A
 
national
 
conference
 
of 
 
the
 
ethnic
 
nationalities
 
5.
 
A
 
Union
 
conference
 
held
 
in
 
the
 
Panglong
 
Spirit
 
and
 
participated
 
by
 
equal
 
number
 
of 
 
representatives
 
from
 
the
 
ethnic
 
forces,
 
democratic
 
forces
 
and
 
the
 
government,
 
to
 
agree
 
and
 
sign
 
the
 
Union
 
Accord
 
6.
 
A
 
Precise
 
timeframe
 
for
 
the
 
peace
 
process
 
The
 
UNFC
 
finally
 
met
 
with
 
Government
 
negotiator
 
U
 
Aung
 
Min
 
on
 
9
 
November
 
2012
 
in
 
Chiang
 
Mai,
 
Thailand.
 
At
 
this
 
meeting
 
an
 
informal
 
agreement
 
was
 
reached
 
that
 
stated:
 
1.
 
Resolve
 
political
 
issues
 
by
 
political
 
means
 
2.
 
Government
 
should
 
hold
 
political
 
dialogue
 
with
 
armed
 
groups
 
collectively
 
and
 
not
 
separately
 
3.
 
Discuss
 
the
 
following
 
topics
 
during
 
the
 
upcoming
 
formal
 
meeting
 
in
 
the
 
Myanmar
 
Peace
 
Center
 
(MPC)
 
in
 
Yangon:
 
framework
 
for
 
political
 
dialogue,
 
“talking
 
points”
 
or
 
agenda,
 
timeline,
 
technical
 
assistance
 
and
 
logistics
 
According
 
to
 
peace
 
negotiator
 
Nyo
 
Ohn
 
Myint
 
,
 
discussing
 
the
 
most
 
recent
 
meeting,
 
in
 
February
 
2013:
 
 
3
 
Editor:
 
Lian
 
H.
 
Sakhong
 
|
 
Author:
 
Paul
 
Keenan
 
Primarily
 
they
 
will
 
discuss
 
framework
 
for
 
starting
 
the
 
peace
 
process,
 
beginning
 
with:
 
addressing
 
ways
 
to
 
advance
 
political
 
dialogue;
 
the
 
division
 
of 
 
revenue
 
and
 
resources
 
between
 
the
 
central
 
government
 
and
 
the
 
ethnic
 
states;
 
and
 
how
 
to
 
maintain
 
communication
 
channels
 
for
 
further
 
talks.
5
Khun
 
Okker,
 
who
 
attended
 
the
 
meeting,
 
suggested
 
that
 
the
 
February
 
meeting
 
was
 
primarily
 
a
 
trust
 
building
 
exercise
 
for
 
the
 
UNFC
 
and
 
the
 
Government.
 
While
 
individual
 
armed
 
groups
 
had
 
spoken
 
to
 
U
 
Aung
 
Min
 
throughout
 
their
 
negotiation
 
processes
 
and
 
some
 
had
 
already
 
built
 
up
 
trust
 
with
 
the
 
negotiation
 
team.
 
He
 
believed
 
that
 
the
 
UNFC
 
would
 
be
 
more
 
cautious
 
in
 
its
 
approach
 
in
 
relation
 
to
 
the
 
peace
 
process,
 
especially
 
considering
 
the
 
continuing
 
clashes
 
with
 
UNFC
 
members
 
including
 
the
 
KIO
 
and
 
SSPP/SSA
 
D
IVISIONS
 
WITHIN
 
THE
 
A
RMED
 
E
THNIC
 
R
ESISTANCE
 
M
OVEMENT
 
While
 
all
 
armed
 
ethnic
 
groups
 
have
 
participated
 
in
 
the
 
WGEC
 
meetings
 
and
 
generally
 
agree
 
with
 
UNFC
 
policy,
 
many
 
are
 
unwilling
 
to
 
risk
 
their
 
own
 
separate
 
peace
 
agreements
 
in
 
the
 
name
 
of 
 
ethnic
 
unity.
 
Since
 
it’s
 
signing
 
of 
 
agreements
 
with
 
the
 
government,
 
the
 
Chin
 
National
 
Front
 
has
 
gradually
 
moved
 
away
 
from
 
the
 
UNFC.
 
According
 
to
 
UNFC
 
Joint
 
General
 
Secretary
 
2,
 
Khun
 
Okker,
 
the
 
CNF
 
agreement
 
was
 
designed
 
to
 
be
 
a
 
model
 
for
 
all
 
ethnic
 
groups,
 
and,
 
had
 
the
 
agreement
 
failed,
 
the
 
CNF’s
 
strength
 
politically
 
and
 
militarily
 
would
 
not
 
have
 
been
 
a
 
serious
 
issue
 
for
 
the
 
Government.
 
However,
 
he
 
notes,
 
that
 
realistically
 
the
 
model
 
is
 
not
 
suitable
 
for
 
much
 
larger
 
groups.
6
 
Regardless,
 
the
 
CNF
 
have
 
seen
 
their
 
agreement
 
with
 
the
 
Government
 
as
 
relatively
 
successful,
 
and,
 
unlike
 
other
 
groups,
 
the
 
emphasis
 
for
 
the
 
CNF
 
is
 
primarily
 
the
 
need
 
for
 
development
 
as
 
the
 
state
 
has
 
seen
 
only
 
limited
 
armed
 
engagement
 
with
 
the
 
Burma
 
Army
 
over
 
the
 
past
 
decade.
7
In
 
fact,
 
no
 
representatives
 
of 
 
the
 
Chin
 
National
 
Front
 
were
 
present
 
at
 
the
 
February
 
meeting
 
due
 
to
 
the
 
celebration,
 
for
 
the
 
first
 
time,
 
of 
 
Chin
 
National
 
Day.
 
The
 
UNFC,
 
and
 
perceived
 
ethnic
 
unity
 
as
 
a
 
whole,
 
was
 
also
 
dealt
 
a
 
major
 
blow
 
at
 
the
 
end
 
of 
 
December
 
2012
 
at
 
the
 
KNU’s
 
15th
 
Congress.
 
Hard
line
 
leaders
 
who
 
had
 
been
 
supportive
 
of 
 
UNFC
 
policies
 
were
 
replaced
 
by
 
more
 
moderate
 
leaders
 
who
 
would
 
shift
 
their
 
position
 
away
 
from
 
the
 
alliance.
 
The
 
UNFC’s
 
Vice
 
Chairman
 
2,
 
David
 
Thackerbaw,
 
who
 
had
 
previously
 
been
 
Vice
 
President
 
of 
 
the
 
Karen
 
National
 
Union,
 
lost
 
his
 
position
 
in
 
the
 
congress,
 
and,
 
while
 
still
 
holding
 
the
 
portfolio
 
of 
 
alliance
 
affairs,
 
has
 
no
 
real
 
political
 
mandate
 
within
 
the
 
KNU.
 
General
 
Mutu
 
Say
 
Po,
 
the
 
newly
 
elected
 
KNU
 
Chairman,
 
is
 
seen
 
by
 
some
 
as
 
being
 
too
 
close
 
to
 
the
 
Government,
 
and,
 
it
 
has
 
been
 
suggested,
 
that
 
the
 
Government
 
might
 
try
 
and
 
use
 
him
 
to
 
sway
 
other
 
ethnic
 
leaders
 
and
 
therefore
 
further
 
decrease
 
the
 
influence
 
of 
 
the
 
UNFC.
8
 
According
 
to
 
a
 
Government
 
statement,
 
General
 
Mutu
 
had
 
after
 
meeting
 
with
 
the
 
Government
 
in
 
January
 
2013:
 
.
 
.
 
.
 
expressed
 
KNU's
 
strong
 
desire
 
to
 
build
 
peace
 
on
 
ceasefire
 
and
 
negotiation,
 
guaranteeing
 
that
 
KNU
 
has
 
no
 
plan
 
to
 
reverse.
9
In
 
addition,
 
the
 
new
 
Karen
 
leadership
 
have
 
acted
 
as
 
mediators
 
between
 
the
 
Government
 
and
 
the
 
KIO.
 
On
 
4
 
February
 
2013,
 
a
 
meeting
 
was
 
held
 
in
 
Ruili,
 
China,
 
attended
 
by
 
both
 
KNU
 
Chairman
 
Mutu
 
and
 
General
 
Secretary
 
Kwe
 
Htoo
 
Win.
 
In
 
addition,
 
the
 
meeting
 
was
 
also
 
attended
 
by
 
Brig.
 
Sai
 
Lu
 
of 
 
the
 
Restoration
 
Council
 
of 
 
Shan
 
State
 
and
 
Harn
 
Yawnghwe
 
and
 
Victor
 
Biak
 
Lian
 
of 
 
the
 
Euro
 
Burma
 
Office.
 
While
 
no
 
solution
 
has
 
been
 
found
 
to
 
the
 
on
going
 
conflict,
 
there
 
is
 
strong
 
evidence
 
that
 
armed
 
ethnic
 
groups
 
already
 
within
 
the
 
peace
 
process
 
will
 
act
 
outside
 
of 
 
the
 
UNFC
 
to
 
persuade
 
the
 
KIO
 
and
 
SSPP
 
to
 
find
 
an
 
accommodation
 
with
 
the
 
government.
 
Perhaps
 
one
 
of 
 
the
 
biggest
 
threats
 
to
 
unity
 
however,
 
is
 
the
 
inability
 
and
 
inexperience
 
of 
 
UNFC
 
leaders
 
to
 
be
 
able
 
to
 
adapt
 
to
 
negotiations.
 
After
 
decades
 
of 
 
conflict
 
and
 
military
 
rule
 
in
 
the
 
country,
 
leaders
 
have
 
failed
 
to
 
recalibrate
 
to
 
the
 
current
 
situation,
 
and
 
consequently
 
have
 
failed
 
to
 
implement
 
new
 
strategies
 
in
 
relation
 
to
 

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