Daw Aung San Suu Kyi meets NMSP delegation

By Hintharnee 1 September 2017

MAWLAMYINE, Mon State — Myanmar’s State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and a New Mon State Party (NMSP) delegation led by vice chairman Nai Hong Sar met at the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) in Naypyitaw on Friday.

NMSP previously asked to meet Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar Army chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing to discuss troop deployment in Mon State and the party’s involvement in the country’s efforts for peace and in developing its system of government.

Also present at the meeting were vice chairman of NRPC and Union Minister for the State Counselor’s Office U Kyaw Tint Swe and National Security Advisor U Thaung Tun.

According to the State Counselor’s Office, the two sides discussed NMSP’s involvement in the country’s peace process, but NMSP did not release a statement about the meeting.

The NMSP formed a high-level delegation to meet the State Counselor and the commander-in-chief led by Nai Hong Sar, and including the group’s secretary Nai Aung Min, the chief of NMSP’s armed wing the Mon National Liberation Army Maj-Gen Layi Gakao, as well as Nai Win Hla, and Nai Aung Mange.

The Myanmar Army chief replied that he was unavailable for a meeting and sent a delegation on his behalf, which NMSP met in Mon State’s Ye Township on August 16.

“I think their meeting is mainly about negotiating for signing the nationwide ceasefire agreement [NCA],” said Ko Min Zayar Oo, secretarial of Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC).

“Perhaps [the NMSP] did not release a statement about the meeting because they have yet to negotiate with other ethnic armed groups,” said Ko Min Zayar Oo.

NMSP has said it will consider signing the NCA before the third session of the Union Peace Conference—expected some time between October and December.

“It is a good sign that they met for peace. As they met Daw Aung San Suu Kyi directly, I think they will reach some agreement. There will be a good answer, and it is heading in a positive direction,” said joint secretary Nai San Tin of All Mon Region Democracy Party.

NMSP declared in May that it was trying to sign the NCA together with its fellow UNFC members including the Arakan National Council (ANC), Lahu Democratic Union (LDU), and Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP).

“It is good that the two met, even though it is still difficult to break the political deadlock. Maybe, they discussed the recent military tensions between the NMSP and the military,” joint secretary of the Mon National Party Nai Soe Myint told The Irrawaddy.

NMSP carried out gun salutes on the 70th anniversary of Mon Revolution Day on Aug. 7 outside its party headquarters in defiance of orders of the Myanmar Army.

In response, the Myanmar Army deployed about 200 troops in several villages near NMSP’s Mawlamyine base, contributing to tension between the two groups.

After the Aug. 16 talks, however, military troops withdrew from the area.