Naypyitaw: Nationwide ceasefire in October

U Aung Min, Vice Chairman of the Union level Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC), said on Saturday, 31 August, he was confident the long advertised Nationwide Ceasefire Accord could be signed toward the end of October, according to a report by the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA).

He was speaking at a meeting between the joint government-parliament team led by Vice President Sai Mawk Kham, who doubles as Chairman of the UPWC, and the joint Karen Shan delegation led by Karen National Union (KNU) President Gen Mutu Sayphoe in Naypyitaw.

“There are 14 armed groups that have concluded state level ceasefire with the government,” he said. “The only two groups that have yet to agree to a ceasefire remain Kachin (Independence Organization) and Palaung (State Liberation Front). Sounding out the 14 ceasefire groups, 10 are found to be agreeable to the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord idea.”

Although U Aung Min did not elaborate, the 4 ceasefire groups that are still withholding their consent appear to be Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), New Mon State Party (NMSP), PaO National Liberation Organization (PNLO) and Shan State Progress Party (SSPP), all being members of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), the alliance led by KIO, according to another report. Only two of its members, KNU and Chin National Front (CNF), enjoy somewhat better relations with Naypyitaw.

Lt-Col Sai Ngeun taking the floor at the UPWC-Karen/Shan meeting 31 August 2013.(Photo: RCSS/SSA)

He also announced that the government has drafted its own framework for political dialogue. Meanwhile, the armed groups had already presented their proposed framework to the government on 13 May. “That doesn’t mean we are going to stick to our own agenda,” he explained. “Both sides should negotiate until an agreement is reached.”

While the armed groups, which include the UNFC, had proposed 19 dialogue topics, the government has only 9, according to him. “We want to hold the political dialogue in 2014,” he said. “If there are too many topics, it will take too much time. And the next government may have to take over from us.”

Saw Htoo Htoo Lay, adviser to the KNU, delivered a power point presentation of the armed groups’ draft framework, dubbed Comprehensive Union Peace and Ceasefire Agreement.

Lt-Col Sai Ngeun, RCSS representative, urged the government not to leave out any armed organizations at the planned nationwide ceasefire signing ceremony, which is expected to be witnessed by world dignitaries including UN chief Ban Ki-Moon. “We also need to discuss thoroughly beforehand on the points that should be included in the Accord,” he added. “For instance, the guarantee that the political dialogue will immediately take place after the signing, and a waiver on Section 17-1 (Unlawful Associations Act) for dialogue participants.”

The common framework for political dialogue has been scheduled to be completed by February 2014, according to Sai Ngeun, quoting a government technical team.

A confusion yet to be resolved was over the role of the parliament. “To our understanding, the national dialogue should be convened outside the parliament in order to make it inclusive,” he told to meeting. “But the President’s speech on 14 August has confounded us. According to him, the 3 stage peace roadmap is: state/regional level, Union government level and negotiation with the team formed by the Parliament. Which makes us wonder whether the government that started the process is going to turn over the job to the Parliament and just wash its hands off us. What we would like to see instead is the resumption of the peace process by the government until a Union Accord is reached. As for the Parliament, we would need its support to ratify the Accord.”

To which Sai Mawk Kham replied it was merely a misunderstanding. No elaboration however was provided.

During has “State of the Union” address on 1 March 2012, President Thein Sein had said there were three steps to realize eternal peace:

  • Dialogue at state level
  • Dialogue at union level until agreement is reached
  • Agreement signed at the Parliament

The meeting lasted 10:00-12:30. It was also graced by Vice Senior General Soe Win, the Army Commander-in-Chief and U Thein Zaw, two other UPWC vice chairman. Ms Dwe Bu, Kachin MP, People’s Assembly, mentioned that this was the first and U Thein Zaw, two other UPWC vice chairmen. time lawmakers were allowed to participate in a meeting with armed groups and demanded that they be invited to participate in such events in future.

Naypyitaw has signed ceasefire with 14 movements:

Date Name of movement Note
1 6 September 2011 United Wa State Army Non
2 7 September 2011 National Democratic Alliance Army Non
3 3 November 2011 Democratic Karen Buddhist Army Non
4 2 December 2011 Restoration Council of Shan State Non
5 6 January 2012 Chin National Front UNFC
6 12 January 2012 Karen National Union UNFC
7 28 January 2012 Shan State Progress Party UNFC
8 7 February 2012 Karen Peace Council Non
9 25 February 2012 New Mon State Party UNFC
10 7 March 2012 Karenni National Progressive Party UNFC
11 5 April 2012 Arakan Liberation Party Non
12 9 April 2012 National Socialist Council of Nagaland Non
13 25 October 2012 PaO National Liberation Organization UNFC
14 5 August 2013 All Burma Democratic Front Non


Allwebsitetools © 2014 Shan Herald Agency for News All Rights Reserved