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A rival faction of the Karen National Union (KNU) has expressed skepticism over the Karen leadership’s agreement to a so-called “Union Accord” at the second session of the 21st Century Panglong Conference (21CPC), the informal name for the current round of peace talks in Burma.
Led by former KNU vice-chairperson Naw Zipporah Sein, the so-called KNU Concerned Group has issued a statement raising doubts over the peace process and the establishment of a federal union in Burma.
The KNU Concerned Group said that the Union Accord – which the government is touting as the foundation of a future peace agreement – fails to include all ethnic armed organisations and does not take into account the opinions of ethnic political parties.
The statement also said that decisions at the 21CPC were made under pressure instead of by negotiation.
Speaking yesterday to DVB, Zipporah Sein said, “With regard to the signing of this Union Accord, even the NCA [nationwide ceasefire agreement] signatories should reconsider the peace process. It simply does not offer equal opportunities for them.”
She added: “Not every ethnic group was represented in this Accord. Not even all of the ceasefire groups. Only six groups have signed the paper. The ALP [Arakan Liberation Party] and RCSS [Restoration Council of Shan State] were not represented because they have not been given opportunities to hold national-level political dialogue.
“The conference also failed to include the voices or Arakanese and Shan people, and the non-NCA signatories were left out.”
The Second Session of 21CPC was hosted by Burma’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in the Burmese capital, Naypyidaw, from May 24-29.