TOKYO, Oct. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Twenty key members of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), an alliance of Myanmar's armed ethnic minority groups based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, met in Tokyo on October 18 with officials of the Nippon Foundation to discuss details, including allocation and transportation, of the $3 million emergency humanitarian aid agreed earlier between the UNFC and the foundation.
Taking part in the meeting were representatives of 10 out of the 11 ethnic groups that inaugurated the UNFC in February last year, including the Karen National Union and the Kachin Independent Organization. It was the first meeting in Japan of key members of the armed ethnic minority groups.
The Myanmar government does not acknowledge the UNFC as an official negotiating partner, but is asking the Nippon Foundation to use emergency assistance as part of peace negotiations. The Myanmar government and the armed groups are expected to make progress toward reconciliation through aid projects.
In Myanmar, home to more than 130 ethnic minority groups, one million people reportedly fled government assaults and are currently living in exile in the mountains of Myanmar. It was agreed that the emergency aid would be provided to the domestic refugees in the form of food and medical supplies.
The Nippon Foundation began assistance, including the construction of schools, in ethnic minority regions of Myanmar in the era of military rule. The foundation had also received requests for the support of ethnic minorities from President Thein Sein as well as democratic movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Makoto Wada / Natsuko Tominaga
Public Relations Department
SOURCE Nippon Foundation