MPC to Be Renamed ‘National Reconciliation and Peace Center’

By Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint 28 April 2016

Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s state counselor and de facto leader of the new National League for Democracy (NLD) government, has proposed renaming the Myanmar Peace Center (MPC) as the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC).

The suggestion came as she met with the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee (JMC), which includes members of the Burma Army, on Wednesday in Naypyidaw, Gen. Saw Issac Po, vice-chairman of the JMC, told The Irrawaddy.

The JMC is comprised of representatives from the government, the MPC, the Burma military and the eight non-state armed groups that signed the so-called nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) with the former government of President Thein Sein in 2015.

Suu Kyi’s personal physician, Dr. Tin Myo Win, has been tipped to lead the renamed organization. State media on Thursday would concede only that the doctor will assume a prominent role in Burma’s peace process: Suu Kyi “announced the appointment of Dr. Tin Myo Win as the peace negotiator for the nationwide ceasefire agreement” at her meeting with the JMC on Wednesday, the Global New Light of Myanmar reported.

Whoever takes on the leadership role in the NRPC would replace Aung Min, who led the peace process under the previous administration.

Lt-Gen Yar Pyae, vice chairman of the JMC, emphasized the need to continue the achievements attained thus far in the peace process.

“At present, we have to work to maintain the current stability based on the understanding and relationships of leaders from both sides,” he said. “When there are leadership changes, we have to start from very beginning again.”

The lieutenant-general called for the establishment of a systematic mechanism for monitoring the NCA that would function regardless of such changes.

The JMC conducts monitoring at three levels—Union, state and local levels. It is now in need of funds to continue its functions as the funds provided by the former MPC have been exhausted.

Suu Kyi said she would seek international assistance to fund the NRPC and would make sure those funds were used properly, according to Shwe Kha, secretary of the JMC.

“A separate meeting will be held to discuss who should be included in the re-organized MPC. She [Suu Kyi] will make the decision. We’ll invite ethnic [representatives] and officials from JMC to the meeting,” added Saw Issac Po.

It was not yet clear whether senior peace advisors who played a major role in the MPC would be included in the reorganized body.

The MPC was formed in 2012 and operated with funds from the United Nations, the European Union, Japan and other foreign governments. The grant period for these monies was completed in April.

Translated by Thet Ko Ko.