Interviewed with Mr. Shwe Myo Thant, the General Secretary of KNPP

“The state government did not try to understand what peace is and did not effectively cooperate regarding to peace as well. The worst is they stay like the agreement signed with previous government does not concern with them at all.”

The five-years reign of NLD government is near to the end. Kantarawaddy Times has interviewed with Mr. Shwe Myo Thant, the General Secretary of Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), concerned with the extent how much NLD has accomplished on national reconciliation and peace issue in Kayah (Karenni) State since they took office until now.

KT – As of the NLD government started taking control, they did Karenni State Conference. In that conference, they agreed on most of the cases including the name giving of “Karenni State”. When meeting with media they also gave the word that they will implement various kinds of cooperation within their reign. In that case, the current government power is about to end, and in what extent have you, the two parties, been able to cooperate until now?

Mr. Shwe Myo Thant – Since before NLD government came to power, we have done preliminary ceasefire agreement and meeting with publics, which have done since previous reign of government. If we talk about Karenni State Conference, it is not the one we could organize and held within one day.

We did the preliminary agreement meetings, negotiation meetings, and then held state conference based on the (3) township-level conferences. If we look at these conditions, thus, we have organized any required preparedness for state conference since U Thein Sein Government reign. As the state conference was held on December 2015, the National League for Democracy (NLD) still could not organize well government in December although they have won the seat in 2015-election. Therefore, our state conference was held since before NLD was not formed well.
Regarding to our expectation to NLD government, however, in NLD government’s 3 priorities, it mentioned they will give favor to peace of Myanmar; besides they are public elected government. Therefore, we highly expected to them. In reality, however, NLD government has many weaknesses in peace cooperation process. The weakest point we could say is they did not attempt to build good understanding with ethnic leaders. Therefore, we don’t have that much expectation anymore in this less than one-year governing period.

KT- What difficulties do you encounter cooperating with state government regarding to peace? What would be the core challenge?

Mr. Shwe Myo Thant – The state government did not try to understand what peace is and did not effectively cooperate regarding to peace as well. The worst is they stay like the agreement signed with previous government does not concern with them at all. Since they do not attempt to understand the agreement signed with previous government and they even see it as it is not concerned with them, it impacts to agreements, which we agreed with previous government, that we had to implement local development program difficultly in this government reign.
We would like to say that we feel like we are dealing with the poor understanding government. Because we have found they prohibit our community development program with the reason we protested against some of their movements. As consequence, it highly impacts and cause obstacles on the bilateral cooperation.
The core challenge would be the difficulty we are encountering with the state government’s poor capability and benevolence which the state government has poor understanding onto our condition where we are struggling for peace building process under difficult situation.

KT- How could the Bilateral Agreement support in your peace process?

Mr. Shwe Myo Thant – I would say, as for us, the Bilateral Agreement could support mostly in peace process because we can say, because of this agreement, we could maintain our state in peaceful way at this extent although we haven’t signed the NCA. Even though the government and military have weakness in respect and value on this agreement, we, as for us, will keep respect and value on it as it is the agreement we signed. Because of this mindset and tolerance, we could overcome those difficulties and problem.

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