Armed resistance mulls summit meeting

Earlier the ball was in the government’s court after receiving from the armed resistance a 4 in 1 Comprehensive Union Peace and Ceasefire Agreement proposal. Now that the government has responded with a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement counter-proposal, it is back in the latter’s court.

The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), the alliance of 11 armed groups, has been considering a proposed summit among some 18 armed groups to deal with it. (According to the government’s count, only 16 of them count.)

KIO and UPWC holding peace talks today, 8 October 2013. (Photo: Nyo Ohn Myint)

“It’s now or never,” said a non-Burman leader.

The UNFC’s 3-day meeting, 7-9 October, in Chiangmai, overlaps the 3-day peace talks between the Kachin Independence Organization/Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA) and the government’s Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC), 8-10 October, in Myitkyina.

The KIO/KIA is the leading member of the UNFC. “It means how the UNFC sees the situation will influence the UNFC, and vice versa,” a border security official who monitors the meeting in Chiangmai told S.H.A.N.

The armed resistance’s formal proposal in August is comprised of 4 parts: common principles, nationwide ceasefire accord, framework for political dialogue and transitional arrangements. The government’s counter proposal has however bisected it, leaving the framework and transitional arrangements for post nationwide ceasefire agreement signing period.

At the same time, the draft has promised that negotiations for the framework will begin right after the ceasefire agreement is signed.

Speaking on the draft, Sao Yawdserk, leader of the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) said, “We should not try to bind each other hand and foot in order to have an agreement that suits each’s tastes. That will only unnecessarily prolong the process. My suggestion is that if the government agrees to the following conditions, it should be enough:

  • Adherence to the agreements signed so far
  • To see to it that our operational areas don’t extend over each other
  • Waiver of Unlawful Associations Act
  • A time line for political dialogue, and
  • Prohibition of the use of force, under any circumstances (except in defense), but to resolve peacefully any problems that arise.”

According to U Aung Min, Minister for President’s Office and Vice Chiangmai #2 of the UPWC, the nationwide ceasefire agreement signing ceremony will “hopefully” be held by the end of October, to be witnessed by prominent world leaders including UN chief Ban Ki-Moon. The Commander-in-Chief of the Burmese armed forces is also expected to be one of the signatories.


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