Regime ready to meet UNFC now: PaO leader

U Aung Min and Hkun Okker shaking hands
after the meeting (Photo: Hkun Okker)
Monday, December 26, 2011 | S.H.A.N

According to PaO National Liberation Organization (PNLO) president Hkun Okker, Naypyitaw’s chief negotiator U Aung Min has disclosed to him that he is ready to meet the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), the alliance of 11 armed groups, during a meeting with him in Bangkok on Friday, 23 December.

“This is a major departure from its initial ‘group-wise’ approach,” said the 65 year old PaO leader, whose PNLO is a member of the UNFC. “The policy has apparently proved a waste of time and resources with most of the groups that he had met.”

The only group that U Aung Min’s efforts have been successful so far is the Restoration Council of Shan State / Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) led by Lt-Gen Yawdserk, whose delegation signed a ceasefire agreement with Naypyitaw appointed Shan State Government on 2 December.

U Aung Min, who is concurrently serving as Minister of Railway Transport, met the Karen National Union (KNU) in Maesot on 21 December and the New Mon State Party (NMSP) in Sangklaburi the next day. At that time he was still reportedly sticking to the group-wise approach stand. “He said the government would hold talks with dialogue only at the third stage of the 3-stage peace process,” said a Karen source.

All the meetings were moderated by Nyo Ohn Myint from the National League for Democracy-Liberated Area (NLD-LA).

The 3 stages are Ceasefire, Development and what is known as “Panglong-like Conference”.

The UNFC, formed in February, is made up of Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), Chin National Front (CNF), Lahu Democratic Union (LDU), Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), Wa National Organization (WNO), National Unity Party of Arakan (NUPA), Shan State Progress Party / Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), KNU, NMSP and PNLO.

The grouping has yet to meet and decide on its upcoming historic meeting with U Aung Min.

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