Govt, UNFC set for Peace Talks

By Chit Min Tun 3 August 2017

YANGON — The government will hold talks with the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) in an effort to persuade the ethnic bloc to attend the next session of the Union Peace Conference.

The government’s Peace Commission and the UNFC’s Delegation for Political Negotiation (DPN) are set to hold informal talks in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand on Friday.

“We’ll discuss with the DPN about their [possible] participation in the next session of the conference. We’ll see how we can cooperate with them. We will also coordinate so that they can join the drafting of the framework for political dialogue,” adviser of the peace commission U Hla Maung Shwe told The Irrawaddy.

The Peace Commission led by U Hla Maung Shwe and the DPN delegation led by Nai Aung Ma Ngay already held informal talks on July 20.

On the agenda of the Friday meeting will be eight points presented by the UNFC for signing the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) as well as a “deed of commitment” (DoC) to attend the conference, according to the DPN.

“There is some misunderstanding between us about the DoC. And we expect the talks will be able to fix a time for official talks,” said a DPN delegate.

The government invited the UNFC to attend the second round of the Union Peace Conference in May in Naypyitaw, but the UNFC did not attend the conference after the two sides failed to reach an agreement over the DoC.

The government and UNFC have not yet reached an agreement over the deployment of troops, the location of military outposts, and the inclusion of international observers in the joint ceasefire monitoring process.

The UNFC has said it would sign the NCA if its eight proposals are fulfilled, including the demand that all of its members be included as signatories to the ceasefire agreement.

The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Wa National Organization (WNO) resigned from the UNFC at the council’s conference in Thailand’s Chiang Mai in late June.

The coalition currently has five members—the New Mon State Party (NMSP); the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP); the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU); the Arakan National Council (ANC); and the Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP).

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.