“It is not enough to say,’we must not wage war’. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace”.
(Martin Luther King, Jr. California, 1967)
The Karen National Union has always sought opportunities to solve the conflict by political means. Because of this basic principle we have engaged in 5 previous ceasefire talks that have broken.The first peace talks were in 1949 with Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL) government lead by U Nu; in 1958 with General Ne Win; in 1963 with the Revolutionary Council lead by General Ne Win; in 1995/6 with the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) and; in 2004/5 with the State Peace & Development Council (SPDC). These ceasefire talks failed because the successive governments did not respond by political means to negotiations.
After the new Burmese/Myanmar government established its office, President U Thein Sein on 30 March 2011 stated in his inaugural speech that he wanted to build national unity by addressing the decades of armed conflict with the ethnic nationalities. This was then followed up on 18th August 2011 with an announced for peace talks. Four months later, the KNU held an emergency CSC meeting on 8-11 November 2011 to discuss this invitation to peace talks. It was during that emergency meeting that the CSC reached a consensus to join the peace process. The CSC also agreed to form a 7 members Peace Building Committee, whose mandate was to handle the peace process and respond to the governments announcement and call for peace talks.