CNF: Arakan Army Should Negotiate With—Not Fight—Tatmadaw

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A secretary in the Chin National Front (CNF) has said that intensified fighting between the Burmese military and the Arakan Army (AA) could be resolved through engagement with the government-led peace process.

As armed conflict continues in southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township, the CNF’s Secretary (3) Pu Htet Nee cited the CNF’s path in signing the controversial Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) as an example for the AA.

The CNF is one of 10 ethnic armed organizations to sign the accord with the government and army.

“Clashes should be resolved on the grounds of the NCA. The CNF is walking on the NCA path. We don’t have any other way to solve Burma’s political problems except the NCA track,” he told Khonumthung News. “We don’t have any policy to change the government through armed struggle.”

The fighting between the ethnic Arakanese army and the government forces has put his organization in a difficult position, he added.

“Should the CNF attack the AA? It is an ethnic armed organization and we have the same goal. Should the CNF attack the Tatmadaw? No, we already signed the NCA with the government,” he explained.

The AA, he recommended, “should study the peace process,” encouraging them to “negotiate and discuss rather than engage in battles.”

The statement comes after major signatories to the NCA—the Restoration Council of Shan State and the Karen National Union—suspended formal participation in peace talks with the government for months, citing a deadlock.

Pu Htet Nee also suggested that the AA withdraw from Paletwa and set up their base in nearby Rakhine State. Khonumthung News reported that at least eight villages suffered damage in clashes in Paletwa in recent months and at least 800 people have been internally displaced within the township.

The Burma Army has also sent troop reinforcements, military equipment and helicopters to the region, raising fears that the conflict will continue to grow.

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