Contact: Roland Watson, firstname.lastname@example.org
BURMA NCA NEGOTIATION UPDATE
January 11, 2015
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There is now a big push by Burma's military dictatorship and its ethnic nationality co-conspirators to sign a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement on Union Day (February 12). But, the Burman generals have not made any compromises at all: on ending Tatmadaw attacks and human rights abuses; on withdrawing their soldiers from the ethnic nationality areas; on writing a new Constitution; on implementing a true Federal system; and on accepting a Federal Army. Therefore, any agreement that might be signed will be nothing less than a comprehensive ethnic surrender.
It is also essential to understand that the NCA signing WILL NOT be followed by substantive political negotiation, even though this is the supposed plan. The purpose of the NCA is simple: ethnic pacification. Once the deal is done, the only issue that anyone will talk about will be the upcoming general election. The ethnic issue will be over: dead. At that point, the dictatorship will marshall all its resources to rig the election. Attacks against the ethnic nationality peoples will of course continue as well.
There is a NCCT-dictatorship negotiation meeting in a week. The KNU has been doing everything it can to separate the NCCT from the UNFC, starting with Mutu Say Poe's theatrical resignation from the latter. The pro-regime parties want to make the NCCT the sole ethnic voice, since this is the group that they have the best chance of controlling.
Of note, the NCCT is supposed to be the negotiation arm of the UNFC. Harn Yawnghwe through the Euro-Burma Office, though, together with his Karen follower Htoo Htoo Lay, and of course Europe, the U.S., Japan, and international businesses, seeing that the UNFC will not compromise on ethnic nationality interests, want the NCCT to eclipse it as well.
The UNFC is further under pressure from Thailand to sign a deal, although it is unclear if this is Bangkok policy or only local.
It is also possible that if the KNU cannot force the NCCT to sign in February, that it will sign on its own, along with any other ethnic nationality groups that are led by traitors.
Pro-democracy voices were able to hold off an ethnic surrender in 2104, but the risk remains, and if anything it is now greater than ever. We need to ensure that there is no agreement until the dictatorship relents on all of the above points. Practically speaking, there should also be no agreement before the election, because - as has been observed - the new face of the regime that will then emerge will no doubt ignore it as well.