By NAW DWE EH KHU / KANTARAWADDY TIMES
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Officials from the Karenni (Kayah) state government say they will continue to cooperate with the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) on regional development issues, but KNPP representatives question the sincerity of the claims.
“We are discussing and negotiating with them for regional development in line with the government’s policy. To restore peace and regional development, we will continue to cooperate with the KNPP in the future,” secretary of the state government Ant Maw said in a press conference at the Kayah State Hall on July 24.
Monthly meetings between the KNPP and the state government were supposed to be held to address these issues, but stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The last meeting was held on March 3.
However, Shwe Myo Thant, the general secretary of the KNPP, said that the monthly meetings with the state government were not effective because those with decision-making power did not show up.
“The problem is that decision-makers from government’s side did not attend the monthly meetings with us,” he told Kantarawaddy TimesShwe Myo Thant added that low-ranking officers or secretaries were typically in attendance instead of parliamentary speakers or government ministers, while the KNPP sent its chairperson or deputy chairperson.
“We already reported it to the Union government. The Union government replied that they would attend the meetings. In reality, they didn’t come and attend the meeting,” the KNPP general secretary explained.
“In my opinion, the state government doesn’t have good intentions toward us. If they need us, they will call us. If they don’t need us, they won’t call us.”
Karenni State political analyst Mertier said the regular meetings were a positive step.
“If this process is stopped, people will not get information related to the peace process. Another thing is that relations between government and the KNPP will become distant,” Mertier told Kantarawaddy Times.Mu Inno Sint, Joint Secretary-2 of the Kayan Women’s Organization, said that the KNPP, state government, army and parliamentarians should be discussing pressing issues facing those in the state.
“Now there are no meetings between them. There are still weaknesses in following the state-level ceasefire agreement. Actually, they have yet to reach the level of maintaining peace,” Mu Inno Sint said.
“We are so worried that the situation will get worse. We are worried that conflict will resume again. To maintain the status quo, stakeholders need to meet regularly,” she added.
The government’s National Reconciliation and Peace Center, the Karenni State government and the KNPP held a meeting on May 6, 2019 to discuss the peace process.
The KNPP and state government held “monthly” meetings on July 20 and December 9 last year and in March of this year.
The KNPP is signatory to a state-level ceasefire agreement but not to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government and military.