The leader of Burma’s main opposition party, Aung San Suu Kyi, said on Thursday she wished to see a “meaningful” nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) concluded as soon as possible, appearing to clarify comments attributed to her the previous day.
On Wednesday, National League for Democracy (NLD) executive committee member Win Htein was quoted by The Associated Press saying the opposition leader had cautioned ethnic groups against a rushed agreement.
“Suu Kyi said ethnic groups will have to consider not signing the nationwide ceasefire agreement before the Nov. 8 general election,” Win Htein said.
Suu Kyi’s remarks were reportedly made during a meeting on Saturday with Harn Yawnghwe of the Euro-Burma Office and Maj. Htoo Htoo Lay of the Karen National Union, a major ethnic armed group that has already expressed its willingness to sign the long-awaited nationwide pact.
Speaking on Radio Free Asia’s bi-weekly program “Hard Road to Democracy” on Thursday morning, Suu Kyi said “we want the NCA signed quickly,” adding that it must be a “meaningful and sustainable accord, as there are examples in world history where ceasefire agreements can be easily violated.”
Peace will only occur if all stakeholders sign a ceasefire agreement which is honored by all sides, she told Radio Free Asia.
Win Htein could not be reached for comment on Thursday but spokesperson Nyan Win told The Irrawaddy that the NLD leader’s comments to RFA accurately reflected the party’s stance.
“I was not in the meeting but I was told by the ethnic leaders that the [Associated Press] news story was wrong and it was not in their discussion,” Nyan Win said.
“We have party spokespersons. If such news is released by non-spokespersons, we cannot take responsibility.”
Suu Kyi will be a signatory to the NCA when it is concluded, according to Nyan Win.
Following a five-day meeting of ethnic leaders which ended on Monday, chief government negotiator Aung Min proposed a meeting on Sept. 9 that would include President Thein Sein and representatives of eight ethnic armed groups, according to Hla Maung Shwe of the Myanmar Peace Center (MPC).
That meeting date was confirmed on Thursday, according to the MPC.
The ethnic leaders included in the talks are the KNU’s chairman Mutu Sae Poe, the Kachin Independence Organization’s vice chairman General N’Ban La, New Mon State Party chairman Nai Htaw Mon, Karenni National Progressive Party chairman Khun Abel Tweet, and Shan State Progressive Party patron Lt-General Say Htin.
Also invited are three members of the ethnics’ negotiating bloc, the Senior Delegation, Naw Zipporah Sein of the KNU, Dr La Ja of the KIO, and Pu Zing Cung of the Chin National Front.