The New Mon State Party (NMSP) and the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) will sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) soon, they announced at a press briefing with State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyitaw on Tuesday afternoon.
The parties agreed to sign the pact after meeting with the State Counselor and the Army Chief in Naypyitaw, said NMSP representative Nai Aung Min, reading from a statement.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi offered thanks to her ethnic sisters and brothers for their decision to participate in the peaceful development of the country.
On Tuesday morning, Myanmar Army Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing met NMSP chairman Nai Htaw Mon and other party leaders in Naypyitaw.
According to a statement on the Facebook page of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, the senior-general and the party leaders discussed issues related to the signing of the NCA and future cooperation.
Two years into the National League for Democracy-led government’s administration, the two parties are the first new signatories to the NCA since eight out of Myanmar’s 21 recognized ethnic armed organizations signed in October 2015.
The NMSP and LDU are members of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), a bloc of ethnic groups. The other two UNFC members were not present at Tuesday’s meetings, despite a UNFC delegation for political negotiation having asked to meet the State Counselor and the Army Chief in order to try and remove obstacles to signing the NCA.
Government spokesman U Zaw Htay told reporters in Naypyitaw that the administration would continue to negotiate with the remaining groups, including the Northern Alliance.
“The signing of the NCA will be conducted between the government and the NMSP, and the government and the LDU; it won’t be under the UNFC banner,” he said.
The two groups and the government discussed how the process could move forward after they sign the NCA, including the convening of a national level political dialogue in Mon State, the spokesman added.
Htet Naing Zaw contributed to this report from Naypyitaw.