Suu Kyi warns on ethnic armies

Growing pressure from the Burmese government on ethnic armies to transform into Border Guard Forces (BGF) could spell gloom for Burma’s future, detained opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi has warned.

Rather than threatening force against ceasefire groups who refuse the transformation, dialogue should be sought, she told her lawyers Nyan Win during a meeting on Saturday.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said she had learnt there are disagreements between the ceasefire groups and the authorities and that she worried about it,” said Nyan Win. “She said that matters like this should be solved via negotiation for the good of the country’s future.”

The sentiment was echoed by the secretary of the Committee Representing the People’s Parliament (CRPP), Aye Thar Aung, who said that the tensions should be worked into a “peaceful solution”.

The Burmese junta has said that continued refusal of the transformation would be met with war, although the majority of Burma’s ceasefire groups have rejected the BGF move, which would see lower-ranking troops assimilated into the Burmese army.

Both the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the New Mon State Party (NMSP) formally announced their refusal on 1 September, which the junta had set as deadline day.

The KIA said that their aim to build a federal Burma remained intact, a policy seemingly in contrast with the controversial 2008 constitution that makes it clear that the future of Burma lies as “one nation, one army”.

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