UNFC Calls Meeting with State Counselor ‘A Success’

By Nyein Nyein 1 March 2017

The United Nationalities Federal Council’s (UNFC) Delegation for Political Negotiation (DPN) said their meeting with State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, on Wednesday has paved the way for the next step of negotiation in Burma’s peace process.

Khu Oo Reh, the secretary of the ethnic armed alliance the UNFC and the head of the DPN, said, that the meeting’s focus on policies will “help further discussions in terms of detailed technical approaches.”

“I would say it is a development as well as a success, and we hope that it paves the way for the next step,” he told reporters in Naypyidaw after the meeting.

DPN requested that the meeting be a forum to discuss their nine-point proposal, including eight demands, which, when met, will lead to the ninth point—the signing of the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA).

Whether the UNFC members will sign the NCA is dependent upon the outcome of the ongoing negotiations, representatives say. They will meet with the government’s peace commission for a more detailed discussion on Friday, March 3 in Rangoon.

The DPN and the State Counselor also discussed how to reach common solutions for the guaranteed joint ceasefire monitoring committee (JMC), if they were to sign the NCA, to prevent the further conflicts or clashes.

“On that issue [of the JMC], the State Counselor discussed it earnestly, and said we would surely collaborate and negotiate,” added Khu Oo Reh.

Members of the DPN said they were able to emphasize the importance of the principle of all-inclusivity to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, pointing out that UNFC members were among those who had initiated the NCA proceedings.

Khu Oo Reh said that he felt the representatives were able to “clearly explain” that the idea for the NCA had stemmed from ethnic armed organizations’ own initial discussions on a the peace process, and was put forward in the first official meeting between UNFC member the Kachin Independence Organization, and the government, in May 2013; the meeting was observed by other UNFC members.

“We were able to clarify to the State Counselor that all [actors in the process] are interconnected,” Khu Oo Reh said. “All-inclusiveness and the NCA cannot be separated, and neither can our eight-point point proposal.”

Htet Naing Zaw contributed to this report.