MAWLAMYINE, Mon State — Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has agreed to meet the New Mon State Party (NMSP) to discuss the ethnic armed group’s stance on the peace process and federalism, according to an NMSP official.
The group also reached out to Myanmar Army chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, who replied that he was unavailable for a meeting for the time being, and sent a delegation on his behalf, said Nai Win Hla, who is in charge of NMSP’s internal affairs.
In a letter on August 10, the NMSP asked to meet both leaders before the end of this month in order to discuss the military situation on the ground and troop deployment in the area, as well as its involvement in the country’s efforts for peace and in developing its system of government.
“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi replied that she would meet us. But the date has not been fixed yet,” said Nai Win Hla.
For the meetings, the NMSP formed a high-level delegation led by its vice chairman Nai Hong Sar, and including the group’s secretary Nai Aung Min, Maj-Gen Layi Gakao, the chief of NMSP’s armed wing the Mon National Liberation Army, Nai Win Hla, and Nai Aung Mange.
The delegation met commanders of the Myanmar Army regional commands instead of Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing in Mon State’s Ye Township on August 16.
The military delegation was led by Lt-Gen Min Naung, commander of the Bureau of Special Operations 4, and included the commander of South-Eastern Command Maj-Gen Myo Win.
“We explained our involvement in the peace process and building a federal Union. They only asked us not to do a gun salute on Mon Revolution Day outside our headquarters. They said we can carry out military parades in our military outfit close to residential areas but without guns and gun salutes,” said Nai Win Hla.
The NMSP carried out gun salutes on the 70th anniversary of Mon Revolution Day on August 7 outside its party headquarters against the order of the Myanmar Army.
In response, the Myanmar Army deployed about 200 troops in several villages near NMSP’s Mawlamyine base, resulting in military tensions between the two groups.
Following the talks between the NMSP and military delegations, most of the troops have been withdrawn as of August 19, leaving about 30 troops stationed in Taung Pauk village.
The NMSP also asked to meet the Mon State government on August 17, but the state government has not replied, according to Nai Win Hla.
The NMSP signed state and Union level ceasefire agreements with the U Thein Sein government in 2012, but it is still in talks with the current government to sign the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA).
Nai Win Hla told press in May the NMSP’s central executive committee agreed to sign the NCA, but will only sign together with other ethnic armed groups in the United Nationalities Federal Council, the coalition of which it is a member.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.