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Karen Peace Talks

Subject: Karen Peace Talks

Karen to seek peace talks with Burmese
The Nation (Bangkok)
January 13, 1994
Somchit Rungchamratrasmee, Manerplaw

Anti-Rangoon Karen leader Gen Bo Mya announced yesterday that his
group will again push for talks with the Burmese junta, the State
Law and Order Restoration Council to end the country's political

  Speaking to a mass gathering on the Karen New Year Day, Bo Mya
said his group would not abandon other pro-democracy Burmese allies
but that his attempts to bring the Democratic Alliance of Burma to
the negotiating table have always been rejected by Slorc.
  DAB is a united platform of about 15 armed ethnic and Burmese
dissident groups.  Several of its members have relied on the
territorial and political support of the Karen.

  The Karen general said he would consult the DAB before meeting
SLORC representatives and he hoped a DAB meeting tomorrow would
come up with a resolution on the issue.
He blamed the failure of previous peace negotiations between the
Karen and Rangoon--in 1949, 1962, 1963--on successive Burmese
governments and said "the Karen do not want to see disunity among
all ethnic minorities.  Instead they want to help to create
democracy, human rights and freedom in the country."
  Bo Mya later told reporters that the Karen National Union decided
to enter talks with Slorc at the junta's invitation.  The meeting,
he said, has to take place in a country that recognizes the
negotiations and not inside Burma.  He declined to disclose
conditions of talks but said the forum would concentrate on
political aspects.
  Informed sources in the All Burma Student's Democratic Front said
the Burmese military attache to Thailand, Col. Thein Swe, told Gen
Bo Mya in a brief meeting arranged by Thai mediators and officers
early this month in  Mae Hong Son that Slorc was willing to meet
the Karen but not the DAB.
  Slorc has since late last year urged armed ethnic groups along
the Thai Burmese border--Karen, Karenni and Mon--to enter peace
negotiations.  The two other groups have already met separately
with Slorc representatives.  The Karen calls for a collective
meeting between the DAB and Rangoon have been rejected by the
military junta.