Burma

Myanmar’s NLD, Mon Unity Party Fail to Meet Due to Venue Dispute

By Zin Lin Htet 5 January 2021

NAYPYITAW—A planned meeting between delegations of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and the Mon Unity Party (MUP) to discuss building a democratic federal union fell through on Monday due to a disagreement over the meeting venue.

The proposed meeting was due to follow the NLD delegation’s talks last Friday with lawmakers-elect from three Kachin State-based ethnic political parties at the ruling party’s Kachin State office. The incoming lawmakers at that meeting were from the Kachin State People’s Party (KSPP), Lisu National Development Party and New Democracy Party-Kachin. The talks focused on peace building and the formation of a national unity government, according to party representatives.

The meeting with the Mon State-based party was scheduled to be held at the NLD’s Mon State office in Mawlamyine on Monday.

“They [the MUP] wanted to meet us at our guesthouse, but we said we could not do that. Therefore we waited at the [NLD-Mawlamyine] office from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. but the representatives of the MUP did not show up,” said Dr. Aung Moe Nyo, a party secretary and the Magwe Region chief minister, who leads the NLD delegation.

He told reporters in Mawlamyine that the delegation acted according to the party’s instructions and would follow the NLD Central Executive Committee’s decisions relating to the issue.

MUP General Secretary 2 Nai San Tin told The Irrawaddy the party proposed meeting somewhere else because it felt the NLD office was an insufficiently neutral venue. When the NLD refused, the MUP decided not to attend the meeting.

“They said they would hold the meeting at their office due to security concerns. But we decided [it would be better to meet] somewhere neutral. So we asked them if it was not possible to meet in the hall at the Mon State ministers’ residential complex if they were concerned for their security. But they didn’t accept that, either. So, according to our party’s decision, we didn’t meet them,” he said.

The Mon party has also refused to accept the NLD’s policy of only holding talks with MUP lawmakers-elect, insisting that it should be able to choose the members of its delegation to hold talks with the NLD.

Addressing criticism of the MUP’s decision not to meet the NLD at the latter’s office, Nai San Tin said, “We are not holding out to maintain our prestige. Our party’s view is that it is best for two parties to meet somewhere neutral. It is not appropriate to meet at either their office or our office.”

He added, however, that the MUP is ready to attend a meeting if the NLD agrees to meet somewhere else.

KSPP chairman Dr. Manan Tuja, who attended the talks with the NLD delegation in the Kachin State capital, Myitkyina, on Friday, said the meeting itself is more important than the venue in politics. “I want the two sides to negotiate again and meet on another day,” he said.

“The venue is not important. What is important is to find solutions through meaningful meetings. It appears they think their prestige will be undermined if they compromise with the other side.  But both sides must be prepared to compromise.”

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko 

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