Armed ethnic groups postpone conference


Armed ethnic groups postpone conference

Mizzima News, 14 Dec 2013

Armed ethnic groups have postponed until next month a conference to consider their response to a government proposal for a national ceasefire, a member of the organizing committee said on December 12.

Speaking in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Pado Mann Mann, said more time was needed to organize the conference, which had been due to begin in the Kayin State capital, Hpa-an, on December 18.

Pado Mann Mann, who is also joint secretary 2 of the Karen National Union, said the conference would be held in the third week of January at Lay War (Law Khee La) camp in KNU territory near Hpa-an.

The January conference will be the second gathering of armed ethnic groups to formulate a position for talks with a government negotiating team.

The first conference, at the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Organisation at Laiza in Kachin State in October, brought together the representatives of 17 armed groups, most of which are members of the United Nationalities Federal Council.

The Laiza talks produced an 11-point agreement for negotiation with the government, including a proposal for a federal army.

However, subsequent talks with the government negotiation team in the Kachin State capital, Myitkyina, in early November failed to produce a breakthrough.

Pado Mann Mann said the January conference was expected to be followed later that month by another round of talks between the armed ethnic groups and the government negotiating team, in Hpa-an.