New Mon State Party to Sign Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement

By Hintharnee 12 May 2017

MOULMEIN — The central executive committee (CEC) meeting of the New Mon State Party (NMSP) agreed to sign the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA), but will only sign together with other ethnic armed groups, CEC member Nai Win Hla told press on Friday.

“What I can say definitely is we’d sign it,” he said. “But it is difficult to predict for others as they are still holding meetings.”

“We learnt that the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), and the Wa National Organization (WNO) will resign [from the United Nationalities Federal Council]. So, they are unlikely to sign,” he told press.

Nai Win Hla said other groups—including the Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP), the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), the Arakan National Council (ANC), and the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU)—may sign.

The decision to sign the NCA was reached at the regular CEC meeting of the NMSP, held from April 23 to May 8. Nai Win Hla said NMSP had yet to meet with other groups likely to sign the NCA to announce a date for the group signing.

Dr Sui Khar, assistant general secretary 1 of the Chin National Front (CNF), an NCA signatory, said the NMSP signing would contribute to the peace process because both the government and the military prefer adhering to NCA in their approach.

“If they are involved, the peace discussion will be wider both in terms of race and region in the peace process. It will bring benefits to groups which have not yet joined the peace process,” said Dr Sui Khar.

Deputy Speaker of Mon State Parliament Dr Aung Naing Oo told The Irrawaddy that he is not pleased with certain provisions in the NCA, but hoped that a solution can be found through political dialogue.

“Signing is not the end of the journey, but it is the first step, and if they can get to the next step which is political dialogue, a better way may emerge for all of us,” said Dr Aung Naing Oo. “I view [NMSP’s decision to sign NCA] as a good prospect.”

NMSP signed a truce with the then ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in 1995, but the truce broke in 2010. It signed state and Union level ceasefire agreement with the former President U Thein Sein’s government in February 2012.