Top Leadership Changes Expected at Meeting of Ethnic Armed Group Alliance

By Kyaw Kha 5 March 2019

CHIANG MAI — Delegates at a meeting of the 10 signatories to Myanmar’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) say the bloc of ethnic armed groups is likely to see changes to its top leadership this week.

The Peace Process Steering Team (PPST) is meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand, today and tomorrow.

Some of the delegates said the team’s chairman and vice chairman — Karen National Union (KNU) Chairman Gen. Mutu Say Poe and Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) Chairman Yawd Serk, respectively — were expected to step down.

Sources close to the armed groups said KNU General Secretary Padoh Saw Ta Doh Moo would become the team’s new chairman and that RCSS Deputy Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Pao Khay will become the next vice chairman.

RCSS Chairman Gen. Yawd Serk and Deputy Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Pao Khay. / Aung Moe Myint

In his opening remarks at the meeting, Gen. Mutu Say Poe said changes to the PPST leadership were coming but did not specify when or to which positions.

“The KNU and RCSS will change the delegates to the PPST as necessary,” he said, without elaborating.

Gen. Mutu Say Poe said negotiations with the government and military on moving Myanmar toward a federal and democratic system that guaranteed ethnic minorities equality and self-determination had “deviated” from the path set out by the NCA.

He called for an objective review of the implementation of the NCA to date and said the country’s ethnic armed groups might take different paths but all had their sights set on the same end goal — a federal and democratic Myanmar.

The general said this week’s meeting was aimed at finding a way to break the current stalemate in their peace talks with the government and military and urged the delegates to discuss the roadblocks facing them thoroughly.

The delegates are reviewing the current peace process framework, discussing ways to make it more inclusive, and trying to reach a consensus on a timeframe for future talks with the government and military.