Valentines from Deep South - Day One



Day One. Friday, 13 February 2015

Yes, it is Friday the 13th. But due to my appointment with the hospital, I had missed the trip to Naypyitaw to witness the peace talks in Naypyitaw held yesterday. Should I let go off my once in a lifetime chance to visit the Deep South, Thailand’s Wild West?

I said No to myself, accepted the invitation from People’s College. I’m now flying there with Air Asia, a two-hour flight, which I’m trying to kill time by reading “Monsoon” by Dr Robert D Kaplan that I yet to finish.



A young man, Indian looking like most of the residents, picks me up at Hatyai and drives me to Pattani, 117 km away, along Route 43. And it is love at first sight.

The place is a narrow strip between the two oceans: Indian and Pacific. Pleasantly cool at this time of the year: 21°C-25°C, unlike Chiangmai where I’m coming from, 14°C in the morning and 32°C at noon. With palm trees lining the road, it somehow brings to mind Hawaii, which I have only seen in the movies, especially Blue Hawaii (1962) played of course by “The King” Elvis Presley.

The scenery is marred by three military checkpoints on the way and road barriers inside the city. I also notice people driving motorbikes without wearing helmets. Clearly this is the only place in Thailand when you might be stopped and questioned by the police for wearing them.

The CS Hotel where I’m located is a fine one. My room, # 520, is adequate with 4 bottles of water to see that I don’t go thirsty (Most give you only two.) But just for ‘just in case’, I buy two tamarind juices and two soya milks from a 7 Eleven nearby.

I’m treated to a southern dinner in the evening by my hosts. Unfortunately I only drink (both hard and soft) after 15:00. However, they being good Muslims, I get only a soft one.

The next thing I know, I’m being introduced to the Deep South’s underground activities and the latest development.

“It is getting harder for the militants to carry out their work,” says one of the hosts. “The government is arming the Buddhist residents. It may take some time before the militants can adapt to it.”

They ask me where I want to go. I reply without hesitation: the Central Mosque and the Krue Sae Mosque. But it is already late so I end up returning to my room.

With luck I’ll be getting away without any mishap. The last thing I want to get myself known by is through a headline like “Old Shan busybody feared among lost’.


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Mizoram peace broker to return to Burma soon



Pu Zoramthanga, former rebel and ex-chief minister of Mizoram, will be returning to Burma soon to explore ways to assist in the current peace process, according to his secretary.


Pu Rosangzaula, calling on Chiangmai-based the Pyidaungsu Institute (PI) for Peace and Dialogue, whose director is also founder/president of SHAN, on 13 February, said it was due to the official request made to New Delhi by U Aung Min, Vice Chairman and principal negotiator of the government’s Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC) on 26 January.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on a visit to Pyidaungsu Institute, Chiangmai, 20 January 2015. (Photo: PI)
Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on a visit to Pyidaungsu Institute, Chiangmai, 20 January 2015. (Photo: PI)

“On the last visit (to Chiangmai) we met Gen N-Banla (Vice President of Kachin Independence Organization and Chairman of the 12-armed movements alliance United Nationalities Federal Council) and talked with him for 3 hours,” he said. “We found out that he was really frank and open with us, something he couldn’t do with officials from Napyitaw. A need for a middle man is therefore great.”

He added that a 9 party coalition of Northeast India the United People’s Front (UPF) had also requested his mediation at a meeting in Shillong (Meghalaya state) on 16 February. “Naturally, he has accepted the request.”

Zoramthanga and his delegation visited Burma and Thailand, 12-22 January:

•    12-19 January in Burma
•    19-22 January in Thailand

According to Express News Service (ENS) of Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram, across from Burma’s Chin State, the ex-rebel leader was contacted by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s colleagues for his assistance in the current efforts to broker Burma’s peace process. He was reported to have met Dessislava Roussanova in New Delhi before coming.

The Myanmar Peace Center (MPC) that assisted the UPWC in negotiations confirmed the letter to New Delhi, saying, “We welcome the sharing of knowledge and experience from all.”

Earlier, U Aung Min had told Khuensai Jaiyen, PI director, “As you know, successive governments (of Burma) have been allergic against mediation by foreign third parties.”


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KOKANG CONFLICT: Infringement of sovereignty, a false excuse?



The Kokang armed conflict, which started out on the 9 February, has developed into an all out war of words against the non-Burman, ethnic northern armed front, sometimes dubbed as Federal Union Army (FUA), by the Burma Army (BA), also known as Tatmadaw, if not yet the physical declaration of war in official sense.

news_opinion_sai-wansai
Sai Wansai

It all started, as Peng Jiasheng's Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) launched an offensive, in a bid to reestablish his authority in Kokang self-administrative zone, from where he was expelled by his competitors from within the army. The then military government sided with his deputy Bai Xuoqian, Peng's deputy, who is now the Naypyitaw’s point man there.

According to VOA, Burmese Section, and various media outlet, Burma's Chief of Military Affairs Security, Lt. Gen. Mya Tun Oo, talked to journalists during a press conference at the Defense Ministry Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, in Naypyitaw. He claimed that allied ethnic rebel groups and former Chinese soldiers recruited as mercenaries are supporting ethnic Kokang rebels in fighting against government troops.

Earlier, on the eve of the armed conflict, Burma Army Commander-in-Chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing had warned that any ethnic groups supporting the Kokang rebels would be held accountable for their actions, although no specific armed organization was named, at that time.

In a VOA, Burmese Section report, on 21 February, Burma's Chief of Military Affairs Security, Lt. Gen. Mya Tun Oo, buttressed Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hliang's accusation and spelled out BA position quite clearly, with regards to MNDAA offensive in Kokang: “We consider the Loa Kai (Lao Gai) attack as the issue of sovereignty. Peng Jiasheng led insurgent group attacks and wants to seize power from the officially elected self-administrative government. His intention is to seize political power. As he is attacking part of the government structure, our Tatmadaw absolutely cannot accept it and will not give in. According to the evidences happening in Lao Kai, Mong La, Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Ta-ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and SSA-Wanhai – also known as Shan State Army - North(SSA-N) are involved and would like to say that groups that are involved must take responsibility.”

According to Burmese military analogy, MNDAA uses foreign mercenaries and tries to dislodge the local administration propped up by Union Solidarity and Development Party-Military (USDP-Military) regime, which implies a breach of sovereignty from regime's point of view.

Furthermore, the regime might like to portray Mong La, TNLA, KIA, UWSA, SSA-N fighting along with MNDAA as parties to infringing on Burma's sovereignty. And thus these groups must be taken as enemies of the State, which must be eliminated.

The regime is whipping up this line of rhetoric, narrow nationalism to mobilize the Burmese mass and many uninformed sectors have been already misled. If this tendency is allowed to foster further, we would be only a few steps away from racial riots of the sixties.

The anti-Chinese riots broke out in Rangoon on 26 June 1967, resulted from Chinese students' defiance of the Burmese government's ban on wearing Mao badges in school. This in turn led to the deterioration of Sino–Burmese relations, symbolised by the cessation of ‘Pauk Phaw’ ties and the subsequent shift in China's foreign policy, leading to the open intervention in Burma's civil war.

This is, of course, not to say that the regime's false move might trigger another Chinese intervention like in past. For the Chinese national interest is much wider and more sophisticated than just to blindly side with its kinship, within the border of Burma.

According to Yun Sun, a fellow with the East Asia program at the Henry L. Stimson Center and a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, published by The Irrawaddy, on 18 February, she writes:

For China, the strategic importance of Burma significantly outweighs China’s interest in the border ethnic groups. Burma is a critical link in President Xi Jinping’s One Belt One Road strategy (that is, the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road). China intends to build infrastructure and connectivity projects through Burma to Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean in order to boost Chinese economic growth and expand economic returns, political ties and strategic influence. Burma is key to the smooth operation of the Sino-Burmese oil and gas pipelines, a national strategic endeavor to diversify energy transportation routes and reduce trade vulnerability. In addition, in keeping with Xi’s stated emphasis on “periphery diplomacy”, Burma is a priority country where China strives to restore influence, repair ties and mend its damaged reputation.

SHAN editorial of 18 February is also of the same opinion. It writes:

No doubt many across the border sympathize with their ethnic cousin on this side in his crusade to reclaim his homeland, especially after his interview given to the Global Times a few months back, as confirmed by SHAN sources. But that doesn’t mean Beijing is ready to pull all its stakes out from Burma to aid a handful of its cousins there. If it were, then Kokang would now be firmly under Peng’s sway again.

And so if the lessons of anti-Chinese riots in the sixties is to be taken into account, or to be learned and avoided, the regime's recent whipping up false nationalistic fevour would do more harm than benefit and should be avoided, at all cost.

The short term benefit for the regime might that it could solicit Bama nationalism against foreign invasion, which is highly overstated, implicating the MNDAA, with an extention on UNFC members like KIA, SSA-N, TNLA and non-UNFC armed forces like UWSA and Mong La as abettors of the foreign scheme. Furthermore, speculations are also rife that the USDP-Military regime knows pretty well that it would lose out to the NLD and ethnic political parties in the forth-coming national election within this year and like to create a situation to avoid the election, so that it could hold on to power.

In short, the regime should refrain from giving out statement like that the BA troops “are protecting sovereignty and ensuring territorial integrity,” and “vowed not to lose an inch of Myanmar’s territory owned by the successive generations”, for this is an overstatement and illogical approach to the issue.

With the rejection of the government to consider MNDAA as a negotiation partner and continue calling for its total surrender, the ongoing armed conflict would likely escalate. It would be even worse, if the regime is to declare war on all ethnic armed resistance; for this would inevitably means the end of the peace process.

To this end, the regime might need to rethink its “peace-meal” short term solution of group survival and instead focus on a bigger picture based on “all-inclusive national reconciliation through peace process”, according to the desire of all ethnic nationalities, Bama included.

The contributor is ex-General Secretary of the dormant Shan Democratic Union (SDU) — Editor


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Others may not agree with him, but not the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), particularly its header Lt-Gen Yawdserk, the Deed of Commitment for Peace and National Reconciliation signed on Union Day, 12 February, has been called the premium guarantee by Naypyitaw that the much awaited political dialogue is indeed coming before this year’s elections.

Gen Yawdserk signing the Deed of Commitment, 12 February 2015 (Photo: Nyo Ohn Myint)
Gen Yawdserk signing the Deed of Commitment, 12 February 2015 (Photo: Nyo Ohn Myint)

“We have signed the state-level and union-level ceasefire agreements because we want to engage in political dialogue and to resolve our problems politically,” he told SHAN yesterday, a day after his return from Taunggyi, Shan State capital. “This time it was top-notch, it was signed by the President, the parliamentary speakers, ministers and political parties. It was also witnessed by the media that, unlike previous negotiations, was with us from the beginning to the end. We didn’t have anything like this before.”

“Had it been only about ceasefire, we would not have signed,” he added.

The Myanmar Peace Center (MPC) delegation that is on a visit in Chiangmai agreed. “At first it was to be signed only by 3 ministers, 3 legislators and 3 generals,” said U Hla Maung Shwe, its special adviser. “But then the President decided he would sign it himself and asked the two parliamentary speakers to back him up. It took the 3 generals who were assigned by the Commander-in-Chief by surprise. They said had they known it in advance, the Commander-in-Chief himself would have taken part in the signing.”

Asked what he thought about other armed resistance movements that did not take part in the signing, Sao Yawdserk said, “I’m a bit confused about it myself. Because most of them had participated in the NCCT (Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team)-UPWC (Union Peacemaking Work Committee) negotiations for more than a year and should know better than us.” (The RCSS is not a member of the NCCT)

Many had told him they were in agreement with the terms of the Deed of Commitment, but no mandate was given to take part in the signing.

Apart from the RCSS/SSA, only the Karen National Union (KNU), Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) and Karen Peace Council (KPC) were the only signatories although 13 organizations attended the event.

“Of course, whether the Deed really becomes a deed and not just words is another matter,” Yawdserk concluded.

The RCSS/SSA delegation headed by him also visited Taunggyi and Panglong during his 12-day visit.


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New history text: How to keep hate speeches on the wane



Yesterday, SHAN was inundated with comments full of wrath and hate for its reports on the abuses-as-usual activities of the Burma Army troops in the wartorn areas of Kokang. Inadvertently, SHAN seems to have become a Chinese lover.

(Cartoon credit: quebecme.me/ZGtjZGL)


But the reports are true. Not only that but they are also useful for Burmese leaders who want this country to be united. Remember what the late Aung San had said: “If we can’t make them (non-Burmans) want to stay with us, it must be because no shoddier people ever existed.”

It was clear right from Day One that these peoples whose lands were both geographically and politically separate from Burma had misgivings about joining hands with it. Were it not for for their trust in Aung San and his promise they could either stay or leave after ten years, they wouldn’t have agreed to.

One well known Shan saying about Burmans is synonymous with an old American saying: A good Injun is a dead Injun. But there are kinder but less well known sayings about Burmans: There are no worse people than the Burmans. On the other hand, there are no better people than them.

For more than 60 years, the non-Burmans have waited for a good Burman to take the stage. In 2011 when President Thein Sein made his call for peace talks it seemed their prayers were at last answered.

However, what seems to have happened is the country has become two worlds: one urban and civilized while the other is rural and savage.

Non-Burman leaders accordingly are given special treatment and care in the urban world while their people continue to suffer in the countryside under the Burma Army troops.


(Cartoon credit: quebecme.me/ZGtjZGL)

Like the cartoon here, everyone appears to want change except to change themselves.

It is therefore high time we considered this. A new type of citizens, as the eminent Thai academic Dr Chaivat Satha-Anand recommends, is what this country needs to have. It can be acquired only if we have a new type of education: one that does not glorify war mongering rulers like Anawrahta, Bayinnaung, and Alaungpaya — as well as the Shans’ Hso Khan Fa (1211-1264) for that matter — but benign rulers like Kyansittha, Aung San and others.

But if we keep on extolling people like Alaungpaya, who had put to death more than 3,000 Mon monks, we should not be surprised if we are going to face another wave of anti-Chinese riots like in 1967, when 50 were killed according to official count, including 1 embassy official when the Chinese mission in Rangoon was ravaged by an angry mob.

To make it short, we need a new kind of history that teaches our children — as well as their parents — how people have lived together in peace under great rulers like Asoka and a new kind of mindset that generates good feelings and thoughts for one’s fellowmen.

After all, in less than a year, we are going to have the Asean Community, a larger one than Burma. All the more necessity for this new kind of history texts.

When dealing with people,
Remember that you are not dealing with creatures of logic,
But creatures of emotion (including yourself)

Dale Carnegie

*Words in parenthesis added by author


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President sending wrong signal



President Thein Sein, accompanied by Commander in Chief Senior Gen Min Aung Hlaing, visited troops wounded during clashes with the Kokang ‘renegades’ on Monday, 16 February 2015.

During the visit he was reported by Myanmar News Agency (MNA) as saying that the troops “are protecting sovereignty and ensuring territorial integrity.” He also “vowed not to lose an inch of Myanmar’s territory owned the successive generations.”

His statements, if they really were his statements, beg several disturbing questions:

Was he insinuating that China was behind the fight that began on 9 February?

Was he thinking of Kokang, the majority of its population speaking Chinese, just like Kiev leaders are thinking of eastern Ukraine, with the majority population speaking Russian?

Was he signaling that he would need outside assistance to recover every “inch of Myanmar’s territory owned by the successive generations”?

Or was it also an implicit message to all border-based armed movements that are “threatening” its territorial integrity that the military’s enraged response in the Kokang case also applies to them? That they could expect nothing less than what the Kokang resistance movement and the population are getting for offending his sacred institution — the Tatmadaw (military)?

SHAN may be wrong to feel that way about the President who has since 2011 been tirelessly pursuing peace, which, as all may agree, is harder than fighting a war.

But the difference between making peace and making a war is profound:

When you try to make peace, you yourself may suffer (due to attacks by well meaning people, as Robert Kaplan says about Lord Castlereagh, who often confuse eloquence with substance, as well as the efficiency by which they pursue the country’s national interest) but the people do not

But when you make war, you may not suffer as you are physically away from the battlefield, but the people there do

The message, if the report from MNA is true, may prove unfortunate despite substantial success made on the Union Day with the signing of the Deed of Commitment for Peace and National Reconciliation, if something is not done immediately.

That something may involve the following measures:

Immediate call for ceasefire talks with Peng Jiasheng, leader of the Kokang Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA)

Clarification of the President’s 16 February statements that they were not directly or indirectly pointing fingers at anyone including the armed movements that have for so long fought without external assistance (The only armed groups that have received foreign assistance, as we all know, have been the Tatmadaw and the Communist Party of Burma)

To earnestly and vigorously re-start the long awaited Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) negotiations

Who knows but the Kokang incident might become a blessing in disguise as well as a shot in the arm for the peace process.



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To the defense chief: Be brave to make peace



On 5 January 1968, Peng Jiasheng, “with all out Chinese support”, as Bertil Lintner wrote in his Burma in Revolt, entered Kokang and seized it. (The Burma Army was then receiving arms from the United States.)

tiger-as-editor Since then until August 2009, it had been under his sway except for a brief period in late 1992, when he was ousted by the Yang clan.

The problem with Peng is that he wants to come back to Kokang but not like a prodigal son by surrendering to Naypyitaw, as conditioned by it. The only option left for him, right or wrong, is to return by force. And that’s what he has done. And look what has happened.

And now, since 9 February, almost 6 years after he was dislodged by the Burma Army, he is back in his old stamping ground. And the army chief Senior Gen Min Aung Hlaing has been talking about “defending national sovereignty” since his visit to northern Shan State on Sunday, 15 February.

The question therefore arises: Is Burma’s sovereignty under threat from China again as in the 1968-89 period? Which naturally begs another question: Is he expecting US aid against “aggression” from China?

No doubt many across the border sympathize with their ethnic cousin on this side in his crusade to reclaim his homeland, especially after his interview given to the Global Times a few months back, as confirmed by SHAN sources. But that doesn’t mean Beijing is ready to pull all its stakes out from Burma to aid a handful of its cousins there. If it were, then Kokang would now be firmly under Peng’s sway again.

Of course, as SHAN has already reported, Beijing is still waiting to see if Naypyitaw still regards it as “a friend in need” as between 1988-2011, when without China coming to the rescue, the country would have fallen apart.

Now Naypyitaw has more friends who used to be its longtime and most outspoken critics. Naturally, it wouldn’t be advisable for Beijing (indeed too early for it) to be too harsh on the armed rebels on its borders as it was before. Saying that the army’s counter offensive is in “defense of national sovereignty” therefore is clearly an overstatement.

What Naypyitaw needs to do it to call for a ceasefire talk, reach a ceasefire agreement, and explore how Peng could be relocated in the Kokang area. Of course, a reconciliation program between himself and his erstwhile deputy Bai Xuoqian, who is now Naypyitaw’s point man there, would be in order.

What SHAN suggests may be admittedly a bitter pill for the defense chief. But if he is also a follower of Sun Zi (BC 623-543), he will remember that “<strong>A government does not mobilize an army out of anger, and military leaders do not make war out of wrath</strong>.”

SHAN hopes its poor counsel is taken into serious consideration, as the war option will for sure mark the beginning of the end of the ongoing peace process.


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DEED of COMMITMENT For Peace and Reconciliation



This is an historic moment as it is the first time that a President of Myanmar has formally signed a commitment to build a democratic and federal union. We are convinced that President U Then Sein’s declared commitment will further strengthen the reform process in Myanmar and create a conducive environment for the continuing efforts to reach a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.

Vijay Nambiar, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General for Myanmar 12 February 2015 EBO Brief  Deed of Commitment
On 12 February 2015, the 68th Anniversary of the signing of the Panglong Agreement in 1947, President Thein Sein, signed a Deed of Commitment to establish a federal democratic Pyidaungsu, something all ethnic leaders, political parties and armed groups have been calling for since 1948 when the Republic of the Union of Burma came into being. It was a momentous and historic moment. The fact that two Vice-Presidents, the two Speakers of Parliament, 16 Union Ministers, 55 political party leaders, 29 Ethnic Affairs Ministers, and three Lieut-Generals also signed, amounted to an incredible show of support for federalism.

This is momentous, considering that for the last 53 years, the word federalism was a taboo that could earn anyone using it, let alone advocating it, a lengthy prison sentence. General Ne Win seized power from the democratically-elected government of Prime Minister U Nu in 1962 claiming that federalism would lead to the break-up of the country. President Thein Sein has reversed history by making it a key part of his government’s reform agenda.

The Deed of Commitment also called for the signing, as soon as possible, of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), building a new culture of dialogue to resolve problems rather than using force, completing negotiations on a Framework for a Political Dialogue, and convening an inaugural conference for a political dialogue before the next general elections.

The Deed should give new life to the NCA negotiations which have been stalled since Sept 2014. In fact, all five points committed to by the government were already agreed by both sides in the draft NCA. However, the ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) were wary and wanted a firm commitment from the government before proceeding with the NCA. This is the first time that the government has committed on paper to negotiating a Framework with all stakeholders, and holding an inclusive political dialogue to resolve political problems. The last point in the Deed called for a reduction in hostilities and the use of legal instruments (such as Articles 17/1 and 17/2) to restrict and intimidate dialogue partners.

Chairman Saw Mutu Sae Poe signed on behalf of the KNU. General Yin Nu signed on behalf of the K/K PC (a breakaway group from the KNU), and General Moshe signed on behalf of the DKBA (another KNU breakaway faction). Considering that the KNU has been wracked by internal dissent in recent years, the fact that three Karen armed organizations were able to agree and act together for the future well-being of their people is a very significant achievement. Chairman Sao Yawd Serk signed on behalf of the RCSS/SSA-S.

The President agreed to the Deed of Commitment on 10 Feb and government Ministers led by Soe Thane and Aung Min proposed the signing of the Deed on 11 Feb to the delegates of the ethnic armed organizations that had arrived to celebrate Union Day. All agreed in principle but they had not come with a mandate to sign anything. The UWSA, NDAA and SSPP asked for time to consult with their headquarters. The ABSDF, ALP, CNF, PNLO, and NMSP felt that the Deed should be discussed in-depth before signing. The NSCN-K did not speak but it is understood that they want a Greater Nagaland straddling India and Myanmar.

The Commander-in-Chief, Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing was away in Malaysia and arrived back in Nay-pyi-taw only on the evening of 11 Feb. Initially, the President and the VPs and Speakers were only to act as witnesses, not sign the Deed, so it was not necessary for the Commander-in-Chief to be present. President Thein Sein surprised everyone by signing the Deed himself and others had to follow. But while Min Aung Hlaing did not come to the signing ceremony, he had personally negotiated the wording for the Deed after he arrived back. So as was arranged initially, he assigned three top Lieut-Generals involved in NCA negotiations to represent the Tatmadaw. They were given direct orders by him to sign.

The Deed is a commitment, an expression of intent. It is not an agreement, let alone a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. The commitment was made to enable the NCA to be signed by building confidence and trust. It is not meant to supersede the NCA as some fear. NCA negotiations have been stalled since Sep 2014. The concern was that since no progress had been made in 5 months, the talks might breakdown completely as conflicts increase. The Deed commits all signatories to sign the NCA as soon as possible.
The Deed was initiated by the EAOs, not the government, contrary to suspicions that this is another attempt to divide the EAOs. The Deed is not an agreement binding all stakeholders. Those who do not sign will not be left behind or penalized. President Thein Sein has stated clearly that those who are not ready, can sign at a later date: It is an Open Book.

There is nothing in the Deed that is new. All five items in the Deed have been discussed numerous times in NCCT-UPWC negotiations. They are also the least contentious items in the NCA. Both sides have already agreed to the 5 items. But since the NCA has not been signed, they were not ‘official’. The Deed now makes them official and explicit.

Without a bilateral ceasefire or an NCA, there was no mechanism to stop the fighting such as started in Laukkai on 9 Feb. Both sides could launch attacks and counterattacks. The Deed should make it easier to sign the NCA and the NCA in turn could help moderate such outbreaks of violence. Without the Deed and without an NCA, the Tatmadaw could be free to attack the KIO, TNLA, AA and MDNAA who have not yet signed any ceasefire agreements.

The political significance of the Deed of Commitment cannot be underestimated. But now, the NCCT and UPWC must decide on the NCA. The future is in their hands – Peace or War!


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