Responses to Shan clashes ‘unbefitting a government seeking peace’: UNFC

Government responses to attacks by armed ethnic groups in Shan State last month have been condemned by the United Nationalities Federal Council in a statement that reiterated its commitment to an inclusive peace process.

The responses were “unbefitting a government seeking peace”, the UNFC, an alliance of seven armed ethnic groups that have not signed the so-called Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, said in the December 13 statement.

It accused the government of not being genuine on the issue of inclusiveness and said it was pressuring groups to sign the NCA by launching military offensives.

The statement decried “the government’s total inaction” to prevent big offensives launched by the Tatmadaw in Kachin and northern Shan states since August.

It said it was “amazing” that the NLD government did not say a word or take any steps over the Tatmadaw’s blocking of aid to those affected by the fighting.

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In contrast, said the UNFC, the President’s Office, Chief of Defence Services Office and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had issued statements after November 20 denouncing the armed ethnic groups that launched attacks in northern Shan and lauding the Tatmadaw.

“It is incredible to see and is unbefitting a government seeking peace, as it is not only petty-minded but also responding to the problem with a one-sided view lacking an understanding of the plight of the people,” the statement said.

The attacks launched on November 20 involved the Kachin Independence Army and its Northern Brotherhood allies, the Arakan Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, none of which are signatories of the NCA.

The Tatmadaw has said it will not allow the AA, MNDAA and TNLA to sign the NCA unless they agree to disarm.

The UNFC statement stressed the importance of creating an environment in which inclusive, peaceful dialogue and negotiation can lead to the establishment of a genuine democratic federal union.

The UNFC would “continue to stand for all-inclusiveness, seek dialogue with the government, and endeavor for the people and the international community to be able to help and support the [peace] process,” it said.

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