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1/10/2019 Northern Alliance Demands Ceasefire Covers Rakhine State

Burma

Northern Alliance Demands Ceasefire Covers


Rakhine State

 TNLA troops march on the group’s Armed Forces Day in Mongton Township, northern Shan State in 2015. / The Irrawaddy

By LAWI WENG 28 December 2018

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1/10/2019 Northern Alliance Demands Ceasefire Covers Rakhine State

If the Myanmar Army (or Tamadaw) do not stop fighting in Rakhine State, the Northern
Alliance also will refuse to adhere to the ceasefire conditions in northern and
northeastern Myanmar’s conflict zones, according to a statement released by the group
on Thursday.

The Northern Alliance, a collective of four ethnic armed organizations—the Kachin


Independence Army (KIA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) the Arakan Army
(AA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA)—released the
statement following a meeting to discuss the ceasefire this week.

The statement comes amid ongoing conflict in northern Rakhine State between the
Myanmar Army and the AA, and almost a week after the Army’s announcement of a
four-month ceasefire in Myanmar’ Kachin and northern Shan states.

“They (Myanmar Army) are attacking only the AA now. If they cannot stop attacking
them, it is not practical for us to hold peace negotiations with Myanmar Army,” Northern
Alliance spokesperson, TNLA’s Brig-Gen Tar Phone Kyaw, told The Irrawaddy on Friday,

“If the Myanmar Army cannot stop their fighting, our side (the Northern Alliance) have to
fight too. It will be difficult for us to stop fighting,” he said.

The Northern Alliance members initially welcomed the Myanmar Army’s ceasefire
announcement as a step in furthering peace negotiations. However, the Northern
Alliance said that considering the short period and limited area the ceasefire applies to,
it will be difficult to work on peace negotiations and thus the group has asked the
Myanmar Army to declare a nationwide ceasefire.

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1/10/2019 Northern Alliance Demands Ceasefire Covers Rakhine State

The Northern Alliance will continue to follow their former stance and meet as an
alliance, not as individual groups, and this is the best way to make progress in peace
negotiations, according to Brig-Gen Tar Phone Kyaw.

His comments come one week after the Myanmar Army’s Dec. 21 announcement which
stated their intentions to engage in peace negotiations during the ceasefire with
individual armed groups in their respective areas, and not with the alliance.

The Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC) will act as a
political wing of the group, but the Northern Alliance is the armed wing which remains
to be in conflict with the Myanmar Army. The Army needs to first deal with the Northern
Alliance before approaching the FPNCC for discussions, according to Brig-Gen Tar
Phone Kyaw.

Accusation flew just three days into the ceasefire period when the TNLA said the
Myanmar Army launched an attack on their forces in Kutkai, northern Shan State on
Dec. 24—a claim which the Myanmar Army has strongly denied.

With troops remaining in place on the ground in ethnic areas, fighting could break out
anytime should the Myanmar Army come to attack ethnic armed groups, said Tar Phone
Kyaw.

Topics: Ceasefire, Conflict, Northern Alliance

Lawi Weng
The Irrawaddy

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1/10/2019 Northern Alliance Demands Ceasefire Covers Rakhine State

Lawi Weng is Senior Reporter at the English edition of The Irrawaddy.

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