NCA Non-Signatories, Govt Peace Commission to Hold Informal Talks

By Kyaw Kha 11 January 2017

CHIANG MAI, Thailand — Non-signatories of the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) are set to meet with the Burmese government’s Peace Commission in Chiang Mai, Thailand on Jan. 13 to discuss the peace process.

“Our goal is to persuade them to sign the NCA and to join the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference,” U Hla Maung Shwe, a commission member, told The Irrawaddy.

“We will keep the channel open for negotiation. We expect to continue talks with them in Rangoon after holding informal discussions in Chiang Mai,” he said.

The Delegation for Political Negotiation (DPN) of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC)—a nine-member ethnic alliance which opted out of signing the nationwide ceasefire agreement in October 2015—will meet representatives of the government’s Peace Commission,  which is overseen by the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) and chaired by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.

The last round of discussion between the Peace Commission and the DPN took place two months ago. Both sides are making preparations for the talks in Chiang Mai, he said.

The informal discussion will not focus on new agenda items, but it will re-examine eight points on which the two sides have not yet reached agreement, according to U Tun Zaw, the UNFC joint general secretary.

“We have to continue discussion on those points related to the signing of the NCA. So, we’ll have an informal discussion,” U Tun Zaw said.

Among the eight points to be discussed is the inclusion of all ethnic armed groups in a ceasefire agreement and in the political dialogue process. The talks will also address tripartite discussions between the Burma Army, government, and ethnic armed groups, as well as the inclusion of international witnesses in a joint ceasefire monitoring committee (JMC).

The 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference began in Naypyidaw in August. The second round of the conference is scheduled for February.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.