Top General to Take Active Role in Govt Reconciliation Efforts

By Htet Naing Zaw 27 November 2017

NAYPYITAW — Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services Vice Snr-Gen Soe Win has pledged to take an active part in efforts by the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government to bring about national reconciliation in Myanmar.

“In shaping a new political culture of solving political problems at the table instead of by military means, all of members of JICM [Joint Implementation Coordination Meeting] and UPDJC [Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee] are to play an active part in bringing those groups to the negotiation table,” said the deputy army chief at the 6th Joint Implementation Coordination Meeting on the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in Naypyitaw on Monday.

However, Vice Snr-Gen Soe Win insisted that efforts to build a federal, democratic union should be based on “our three main national causes,” namely non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of national solidarity and the perpetuation of sovereignty, further confirming that the Myanmar Army would not let any ethnic area secede from the country.

“It is important that we should take necessary actions without losing track of building a Union based on democracy and federalism with permanent peace,” he said.

Monday’s meeting focused on terms of reference and standard operating procedures designed by the UPDJC, national-level political dialogues, and the progress of NCA implementation.

“Our Three Main National Causes and the desire for a multi-party democracy must take precedence over self-interests in peace talks,” stressed the deputy army chief.

“To build harmony among key stakeholders in the country, it is important that the foundation of democratic federal principles that are acceptable to all is laid down,” said Gen Saw Mutu Say Poe, chairman of the Karen National Union (KNU).

The KNU chairman suggested taking time to reach a clear consensus rather than signing peace agreements hastily, calling for negotiations based on national reconciliation.

“It is physical courage that armed groups need on battlefields to fight enemies, but at the negotiation table for peace they need mental courage to face themselves,” said State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

“We all must have the courage to find correct answers for peace. And we must be able to assess correctly if we can get those answers,” she said at the meeting.

The deputy army chief also urged Tatmadaw troops at different levels to avoid activities that could create misunderstanding or intervening in the administrative functions of the government during the peace process.

The 6th JICM, held at the National Reconciliation and Peace Center in Naypyitaw, was attended by leaders of the government and Tatmadaw and NCA signatories.