Military’s Ceasefire Draft Demands Revealed

By Lawi Weng 12 July 2019

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) must offer up troop numbers and lists of the weapons in their possession to the Myanmar military and the Union government as part of a propoed ceasefire agreement drafted by the military, local sources tell The Irrawaddy.

During peace talks held on the sidelines of a June 30 event marking the 30th anniversary of the national ceasefire in Mongla Special Region 4, in eastern Shan State, members of the government’s Peace Commission handed the military’s draft of a bilateral ceasefire agreement to Northern Alliance members, including the KIA.

Colonel Naw Bu, KIA spokesperson, told The Irrawaddy on Friday that his senior leaders were having meetings to respond to the request from the government and military.

“Once the results come out from the meetings, KIA leaders will send them to the NRPC (National Reconciliation and Peace Center),” Col. Naw Bu said.

He said he hasn’t seen the draft proposal from the military yet but had heard that they’d asked the KIA to provide lists of weapons and troops.

The Kachin News Group reported that the KIA must respond by July 15.

The KIA is a member of the Northern Alliance (NA), a group of ethnic armed groups that includes the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the Arakan Army (AA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA). The Myanmar military and Union government have held peace talks several times with the NA, in Muse and in China.

The NA compiled the first draft of a bilateral ceasefire agreement and handed it to the military during the last round of peace talks, held in Muse, northern Shan State, on April 30.

That draft called for a ceasefire to be put into place before negotiations about troop settlements take place—still the biggest point of contention between the two sides.

The military has asked NA members to return to their original bases as part of a proposed ceasefire agreement.

“If they [the military] try to solve the military issue and weapons first, I think it will be difficult for the KIA to sign a bilateral agreement,” said Col. Naw Bu.

The NA draft also called for having its own political group, the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC), represent them, and for both sides to share monitoring and  enforcement responsibilities over the ceasefire.

The TNLA originally based in Namsan and Mongton townships in northern Shan State and over the past 10 years has expanded to control territory in another eight townships. If the military agreement were to be implemented, it would have to retreat from these townships.

The MNDAA were originally based near Hong Ai in the Kokang Self-Administered Zone in northern Shan State.

The AA, which is currently fighting the military in Rakhine State, would also have to call their troops back to their original location in Kachin State—perhaps the most unlikely bet of all.

For the three members of the NA, a return to original positions is basically a nonstarter.