Northern Alliance Rejects Burmese Govt’s Branding of Arakan Army as ‘Terrorist’ Group
By NETWORK MEDIA GROUP (NMG)
Saturday, March 28, 2020
The Burmese government’s designation this week of the Arakan Army (AA) as a terrorist organization will further alienate the country’s ethnic nationalities, members of the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed groups, of which the AA is a member, said.
Khine Thukha, a spokesperson for the AA, said that such maneuvering could encourage the collapse of the country.
“If the Burmese government creates a situation in which we cannot face each other, it will spark the disintegration of the Union,” he told NMG. “If we cannot live together with them, we will walk on our own path.”
The Northern Alliance, including the AA, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) released a statement on March 26 about the government classification of the AA as unlawful on March 23. The statement accused the government of trying to push other ethnic armed organizations out of the country.
The statement also implicated the Burma Army in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, and suggested that the Burmese government was complicit in the military’s actions.
“I think there is no reason to have dialogue at the moment, because the Burma Army is preparing excessive forces to attack us. In this situation, how can we expect dialogue with them?” Khine Thukha said.
The Northern Alliance said in its statement that while it remains important to resume talks around the signing of a bilateral ceasefire agreement in order to create a context in which political dialogue could take place, the Burma Army is provoking ethnic armed groups with its preparations for stronger offensives.
The labeling of the AA as a terrorist organization was an attempt to isolate the group, politically and militarily, and the Northern Alliance said that their members rejected the designation and would continue to cooperate in political and military affairs with the AA.
Padoh Saw Tadoh Moo, the general secretary of the Karen National Union, which is not a member of the Northern Alliance and is signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government said that the current problems with ethnic armed groups are inherently political.
“We need to solve political problems by political means. To implement the peace process in this country, there must be a concrete policy for it. In the long term, it will be negative for all of us if they try to solve political problems by means of excessive force,” Padoh Saw Tadoh Moo said.