Ethnic groups call for federal union

All ethnic armed organisations, including the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), will celebrate the 68th anniversary of Union Day on February 12 if the government agrees to calls from the Union Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) to establish a federal union, says the UNFC.

It called for an agreement to be signed on Union Day to establish a federal union where states had the right to democracy, national equality and autonomy, in accordance with the desires of President Thein Sein’s administration.

“The statement was decided by all of us. It reflects the guidance of our chairman,” said Colonel Khun Okkar, UNFC joint general secretary.

“An agreement designing the establishment of a federal union should be sought on Union Day. It is the essence of the country. The people demand it. President Thein Sein made a similar point in his December 2 speech. If both sides agree, the union we want to design will be clearer.

“We want to establishment a federal union as a political pledge. If the demands of the ethnic groups are accepted by the government, the leaders will attend the Union Day ceremony.”

An agreement would strengthen mutual trust between the president and ethnic leaders while reaffirming their commitment to the signing of a nationwide ceasefire deal, the Kachin Independence Army’s General N’Ban La, the chairman of the UNFC, said in a statement.

There are plans to hold informal negotiations between the government and ethnic armed organisations on establishing a federal union, despite regular skirmishes between the government and the KIA.