Burma

Myanmar’s Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Unveils ‘New Peace Architecture’ Policy

By Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint 5 January 2021

YANGON—Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has introduced a new approach to the country’s peace process-—which she calls the “New Peace Architecture”—designed to allow participation by political groups, civil society organizations and the public.

In her New Year’s speech on Jan. 1, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said the new approach will seek a balance between representation and effectiveness, and that various points of view will be taken into account as it is implemented. She said the aim is to convince not only the signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), but also non-signatories to come on board and cooperate.

Both formal and informal dialogues will be pivotal to the peace process in the post-2020 period, said the leader of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD). The government will prioritize implementation of the new approach over the next five years, she said.

“We recognize the important role of public participation [in the peace process]. This depends on how much we can pave the way for all stakeholders to participate,” she said, calling for changes to the frameworks, systems and mechanisms of the peace process so that it can be more effectively implemented.

With Myanmar set to mark the 75th anniversary of the Panglong Agreement in 2022, she said she hoped the country would soon see signs of progress toward the establishment of a federal union.

She said the Constitution must be amended to establish a democratic federal union. She called for a Constitution that aligns with existing peace agreements, the long-term needs of the country and the expectations of the people.

“In two years, Myanmar celebrates the 75th anniversary of its independence. The top priority of the government this year is to shape the future of the country. It is also a task for the people,” she said.

During its first five-year term, the NLD government led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi managed to sign three parts of the Union Accord with the 10 NCA signatories. The accord has been approved by the Union Parliament. At a press conference in August 2020, a set of principles for the establishment of a federal political system for the country was announced as Part 3 of the Union Accord.

The government is also in the process of negotiating with the members of the Northern Alliance—the Kachin Independence Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, Ta’ang National Liberation Army and Arakan Army (AA)—to sign individual bilateral ceasefire agreements.

The Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s military) and the AA reached an unofficial ceasefire in November after fighting for two years in northern Rakhine State and Chin State’s Paletwa. On New Year’s Day, the AA also released three former NLD candidates it had detained since October. On the same day, the armed group returned three captured soldiers to the Tatmadaw. The two sides have also discussed troop deployments and other security matters.

Following its Nov. 8 election victory, the NLD issued statements calling on 48 ethnic political parties to join renewed talks on federalization. The party formed a team on Dec. 12 to hold discussions with ethnic parties. The team last Friday met lawmakers-elect of local ethnic parties in Kachin.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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