KNPP Committed to Peace Despite Reluctance to Join NCA, general secretary says

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By Kantarawaddy Times

The Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) vowed to maintain peace in Karenni (aka Kayah) State, even though the ethnic armed organization (EAO) hasn’t signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).

General Secretary Shwe Myo Thant explained that unresolved grievances with the Burma Army over land disputes and fatalities of three KNPP soldiers and a civilian in December, 2017, as well as other larger looming concerns, make the EAO hesitant about joining the NCA.

The EAO was meeting with the government every month to maintain stability in the state, Shwe Myo Than told Kantarawaddy Times. But since the pandemic started the meetings have been suspended.

Palu Reh, a political analyst, told Kantarawaddy Times that concerns related to the movement of Burma Army troops, human rights abuses and mega development projects need to be addressed. “If these problems can’t be resolved quickly they will become bigger issues that will negatively impact the peace process.”

The KNPP signed a State and Union-level ceasefire agreement with the government in 2012 with the understanding the Burma Army would inform the EAO before entering its controlled territories and for mega projects to be suspended until there’s durable peace in the state.

Ko Kyaw Htin Aung, who is also a political analyst, said the KNPP has done its part to ensure stability in Karenni State despite not signing on to the NCA. But he also commended the Burma Army for its efforts to maintain peace. “Because the Burma Army and the KNPP respect the State-level and Union-level ceasefire agreements signed in 2012 there hasn’t been a large clash in our state.” After the election, the Burma Army reformed its peace negotiation team and met with KNPP, Ko Kyaw Htin Aung explained.

Shwe Myo Thant said if the new government guarantees ethnic equality and self-determination, is inclusive of the ethnic political parties and resolves the “military issue” the KNPP will probably sign the NCA.

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