Myanmar Junta Snubs Pro-Regime Armed Groups’ Call for Peace Talks

By The Irrawaddy 14 December 2022

Seven ethnic armed organizations, which are signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), have failed to arrange an informal meeting with Myanmar’s regime.

The Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), New Mon State Party, Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army Peace Council (KPC), Arakan Liberation Party, Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO) and Lahu Democratic Union on December 7 proposed a meeting with Lieutenant General Yar Pyae, chairman of the regime’s National Solidarity and Peace Negotiation Committee.

The committee replied that a meeting was impossible at the moment, Colonel Saw Kyaw Nyunt of the KPC told The Irrawaddy.

“We were told the next day that the committee could not meet due to challenges and crises across the country in the unusual landscape. No meeting will not take place for now,” he said.

A letter from the seven groups to the regime seen by The Irrawaddy said they wanted to reach common agreements to build a permanent peace.

They proposed an informal, low-key meeting in Chiang Mai on Monday with a few representatives from each side, followed by a round of informal meetings in Taunggyi, Shan State, or Mawlamyine, Mon State, this week.

PNLO patron Khun Okkar said they asked for a meeting to ease the crisis in Myanmar.

“We need to discuss how to overcome the crisis to stop daily casualties and damage in the interests of the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Karen National Union (KNU), which is a signatory to the NCA but fighting the regime, said it has no plans to hold talks.

KNU external relations head Padoh Saw Taw Nee said: “Myanmar’s military has become illegal since the coup. We will also be illegitimate if we attend talks. We will be the same as them if we attend. We will never do it.”

The KNU is fighting the regime in Karen and Mon states and Bago and Tanintharyi regions.

One observer said six of the seven groups are powerless and calling for talks to survive.

“Apart from the RCSS, they are toothless. They are just trying to survive. A meeting is just self-interest,” the analyst.

The regime released prisoners and pretends to hold peace talks just to give ASEAN and the rest of the international community the impression it wants peace, he added.

“The junta claims that groups want peace and will hold talks while only terrorists won’t,” he said.

The regime has labeled the civilian National Unity Government and its allied resistance groups as terrorist organizations.

Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing held two rounds of talks with NCA signatories that are not fighting military rule.