"KNU objectives are the same. Nothing changes," he said.
 
The KNU and its armed wing, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), have been fighting the central government for greater autonomy since 1949. Most of the original Karen forces had fought in Britain's colonial army.
 
After seizing power in 1988 from another set of generals, Myanmar's current military rulers signed ceasefires or peace pacts with about two dozen ethnic guerrilla groups in the country's jungle hinterlands.
 
The KNU reached an informal ceasefire with the junta in December 2003 after talks brokered by then military intelligence chief, Khin Nyunt, with whom Bo Mya once said he had a good rapport.
 
But a formal peace deal was never signed after Khin Nyunt was ousted in October 2004 and fighting resumed.