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Who breach the treaty of peacemaking in Burma?

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The recent bomb-blasts have shocked the common public especially in Yangon and Mandalay where foreign tourists have been arriving to visit the country. Burma or Myanmar has been putting into practice democratic reforms since President U Thein Sein sworn in office in March, 2011.

The President's reforms have paved way to the withdrawal of international economic sanctions against Myanmar and changed the former hermit land into a regional stakeholder at the helm of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

According to the president's office, the bomb-blasts were targeted frightening the people and to damage the country's reputation as Myanmar has received the chairmanship of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) recently and takes responsibility to host the Southeast Asia Games in December after stayed away for more than four decades.

Up to now, there were nine explosions that hit five cities - Yangon, Mandalay, Taungoo, Sagaing and Nanhkan - since 9 October 2013. Besides, the security personnel also found four unexploded devices in various places in some townships, as said by various media.

On 17 October, the U.S. Embassy in Yangon condemned the explosions and terrorized bombings as "acts of terror" and urged the Myanmar establishment to proceed with full respect for due process under the rule of law.  "Acts of violence like those perpetrated and attempted over the past week have no place in civilized society," the Embassy's statement said.

The director-general of the Myanmar police force announced on 18 October that eight suspects are in custody following a spate of bombings which left three people dead and several injured, according to the Democratic Voice of Burma.

Speaking at a press conference in Yangon, he said that Nay Toe (alias) Saw Shwe Htoo the main suspect is still at large. He said that Nay Toe, the manager of a business owned by the Karen National Union (KNU), was the mastermind behind the bombings and the one who ordered Saw Myint Lwin, who is now in custody, to plant the bomb at the Traders Hotel. The KNU dismissed allegations that the attack was planned by its leadership but pledged to investigate within its ranks for any connection to   the attacks, DVB said.

As the Karen National Union (KNU) has been still in the peace negotiation process with the government, some people concerned about the involvement of an alleged KNU member in the recent bombings.

On 21 September, 2012, the Karen National Union (KNU) released a statement calling for "tri-partite dialogue so that all ethnic and political groups can be represented and a consensus can be reached and provide a stable foundation for genuine peace and democracy in our country."

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KNU also call for immediately halt all military operations in Kachin State on the International Day of Peace. KNU's statement intensely said that to establish a genuine and permanent peace government must have willingness allowing all sides to enter into political dialogue to address the root causes on conflict, and resolve it in political means.

On the 63rd Anniversary of Karen People Martyrs' Day on 12 August, KNU President Gen. Mutu Say Po delivered a message to people. At one stage, the message says, "The political stand of the KNU is that, as movement of the Karen people is political, it must be resolved politically. The aim of establishment of armed organizations by the KNU is not to fight the enemy for victory and seize the State power. The aim is to protect the organization and the people, to be able to resolve the political problems harmoniously, to achieve equality and self-determination for the Karen people and all the other ethnic nationalities, to establish a federal union based on democracy. As the KNU accepts the resolution of Karen political problem through political dialogue and negotiation as the most correct way, whenever the condition allows, the KNU has to establish peace with the regimes in power and resolve the Karen political problem politically through dialogue."

To date, some serious questions between government and the KNU are still unresolved. For instance, the systematic relocations of the Burma Army troops from Karen State and other conflict ridden Karen areas are unanswered. Besides, the Code of Conduct, which was drafted by the KNU and submitted to the government to negotiate, is still up in the air.

Karen National Union (KNU) or Karen rebellion has its beginning since the Second World War, when many Karen fought alongside the British Army against the invading Japanese. The Karen populace was guaranteed to have autonomy by the British but when independence gained in 1948 the promise was disappeared. Afterward, in January 1949, the Karen initiated the armed struggle with the intention of self-determination ever since.

Last week, in an exclusive interview with Karen News, the Karen National Union's vice-chairperson, Padoh Naw Zipporah Sein, voiced her concerns that the government is rushing to sign a nationwide ceasefire without regarding the realities of continuing armed conflict in ethnic areas and also it fails to complete its obligations accepted in previous peace talk meetings.

During the interview with Karen News , Naw Zipporah Sein stressed that "the situation is not yet conducive for a nationwide ceasefire agreement. A nationwide ceasefire, we need to think about it carefully. This is one of the demands that we -- the KNU and other ethnic nationalities made to the government previously."

"One important point is the repositioning of the government's troops in KNU-controlled areas. This should be discussed and done before a nationwide ceasefire is considered," She emphasized. "How can we sign a nationwide ceasefire agreement while fighting is still going on in the Kachin and northern Shan States. Refugees and IDPs are still fleeing for their lives daily in those areas. There are skirmishes in the KNU areas because there is no code-of-conduct for the troops to follow."

 "As I have said before, regardless of whatever timeframe the Burmese side has given us, I don't think they [government] are ready for a nationwide ceasefire because General Min Aung Hlaing reportedly admitted that they have not yet completed drafting their version of code-of-conduct. That is a very critical point to consider," Naw Zipporah Sein mentioned.

Naw Zipporah Sein concludes her interview with Karen News by calling the government to implement the agreements that accepted in the previous ceasefire talks.

The two sides agreed to work step-by-step for a nationwide cease-fire and to end conflict in ethnic areas. Both sides also agreed to undertake people's safety including resettlement of thousands of refugees displaced by armed conflicts in the Karen state, and also to cooperate on removal of landmines.

In keeping with Naw Zipporah Sein's view, it is very important for all ethnic populace to consider thoroughly before representing in a nationwide ceasefire signing ceremony invited by the government.

 

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Zin Linn was born on February 9, 1946 in a small town in Mandalay Division. He began writing poems in 1960 and received a B.A (Philosophy) in 1976. He became an activist in the High School Union after the students' massacre on 7th July 1962. (more...)
 

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