President’s 8 point peace guideline quietly shelved

Naypyitaw has quietly withdrawn its controversial 8 point guideline that was publicly laid down in May 2012 as pre-conditions for political dialogue with armed resistance movements, according to Karen and Shan technical teams returning to the border after holding meetings with representatives from government, political parties and civil society organizations last week.

President Thein Sein (Photo:

The guideline called on the armed resistance groups:

  • To remain forever in the Union
  • To accept the Three National Causes i.e. Non-disintegration of the Union, Non-disintegration of National Sovereignty and Perpetuation of National Sovereignty
  • To cooperate in economic and development tasks legally
  • To cooperate in the elimination of narcotic drugs
  • To set up political parties and enter elections
  • To accept the (2008) constitution and to make necessary amendments in the parliament by majority consent
  • To fully enter the legal fold for permanent peace and live, move, work and consume in accord with the constitution
  • To coordinate existence of only a single armed forces in accord with the constitution

The conditions were just “another way of telling us to surrender,” one of the ethnic leaders had exclaimed after reading them.

“Now that the government has accepted the 14 point proposal for the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, we were told it was a matter of proprieties we don’t ask whether the 8 point guideline still exists,” said Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) representative Sai Ngeun told a briefing session held in Chiangmai yesterday.

The Comprehensive Union Peace and Ceasefire Agreement, formally presented by the joint Karen-Shan delegation on 17 August to U Aung Min, the government’s chief negotiator, calls for the establishment of a High Level Joint Peace committee (JPC), now renamed Pyidaungsu Peace and Dialogue Committee (PPDC), he added.

The PPDC, comprised of top leadership from the Government/Army, Ethnic Nationalities Armed Groups and Political Parties, “will ensure the legalization and constitutional path of the final Union Accord agreed by the Pyidaungsu Union Conference” mandated by it, according to the proposal.

The two sides are reportedly still deliberating on the first revised draft of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, details of which have yet to be made public. “Suffice it to say that it was based on the proposal that we had submitted,” said a Karen delegate.

According to the planned timeline, the Accord signing ceremony, to be witnessed by world dignitaries including Union Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, is to be held late October. The “Nationwide” agreement will require at least 8 (out of 16 armed groups, according to government count) to sign it.

So far, only the Karen National Union (KNU) and the RCSS/SSA have agreed “in principle.”

Meanwhile, a senior Chinese envoy visiting Burma said China did not want any groups along its border, especially the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) to be left out, according to Harn Yawnghwe, Director of Euro Burma Office (EBO), who attended the briefing session.

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