First Time Ever, Karen Ethnic Armed Force Criticizes Myanmar Government for Designating Arakan Army As Terrorist Organization but Urges the Government to Have Dialogue with AA

Karen National Libration Army 
AN. Sittway. August 19, 2020 

Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), armed wing of a powerful and the longest revolutionary organization of Karen National Union (KNU), issued the first ever statement on August 18 and criticized Myanmar Government for designating Arakan Army as a terrorist organization and called on the government to halt forcefully framing AA into unamicable wording of ‘terrorist organization.’ The statement urged the government to embrace AA as dialogue partner and have direct dialogue. 

KNU singed the nationwide ceasefire agreement with Myanmar government in 2015 and ended 60 years of armed hostile in the southern region of Myanmar. Since then, KNU has participated in peace process and negotiated for federation. 

The organization stopped formal meetings with the government after the peace process was stall in 2018. It has rejoined in the process since 2019.

KNU is attending the 4thSession of Panglong Conference in Naypaytaw on August 19-21 and will sign a number of important agreements with the government. 

But Arakan Army was not invited to the conference, and it caused 7 non-ceasefire ethnic armed organizations, including Kachin and Wa, not to participate in the conference. 

“KNLA believes the battlefield cannot resolve for the root cause of armed conflict but meaningful dialogue. Peace making is a pragmatic approach of embracing an enemy to be a good friend, and we welcome any peaceful attempt of roundtable discussion and dialogue that harms no one but produces agreeable and tactical solutions,” the statement said.
It goes on, “We regret all non-ceasefire organizations are not invited to the 21stCentury Panglong Union Conference. And, we object for denying AA participating in the conference, and it is swaying our firm belief of (all-inclusive) peace process.” 
The statement said both the government and military branding AA as terrorist organization is fueling more conflicts and urged to solve it through dialogue. 

Arakan community welcomes the KNLA statement for understanding the conflicts in Rakhine State and the role of AA. 

“It is encouraging for KNLA statement that clearly states exclusion of AA from the peace conference but urging the government to reconsider in branding AA as terrorist organization. It is good KNU/KNLA shows solidarity with Rakhine people and AA,” said Kyaw Tun Aye, one of the members of Mrauk U charity organization. 


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