KNU leaders at odds over Union Day pledge

The ruling government, political parties and four ethnic armed groups, including the Karen National Union (KNU), signed a pledge for peace and national reconciliation on the 68th Union Day on February 12.

However, disagreement has reportedly arisen among KNU leaders over the signing of the pledge.

Among those who signed the Union Day pledge were KNU chairman General Saw Mutu Say Po and General Secretary Pado Saw Kwe Htoo Win.

On February 16, the KNU Headquarters issued a statement saying a meeting took place on February 12 among leaders from the government, parliament, military and representatives from several ethnic armed groups. However, the signing of the peace pledge by two groups – the KNU and the Restoration Council of Shan State – does not conform with the decision made by the KNU Central Standing Committee at a meeting held from February 3 to 7. The issue has yet to be deal with by the KNU, the statement said.

KNU vice chairman Naw Si Po Ra Sein told the Karen Information Centre that his organisation’s signing of the Union Day pledge might cause some difficulties in seeking cooperation among the ethnic organisations, adding that participation of only two groups is not fair.

Saw Mutu Say Po told Kayin (Karen) nationals in Yangon on February 16 that his signing of the pledge was aimed at breaking the deadlock plaguing Myanmar’s peace process.

“Whatever challenges we are facing or unilateral ideologies we have, it is me who has promised that our ethnic armed groups will continue marching towards the peace process,” he said.