Ethnic Armed Organization (EAO) signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) and the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) Secretariat held a two-day informal meeting in Yangon last week.
The UPDJC Secretariat meetings are supposed to be held once a month but the last one was done back in July 2018, almost a year ago. It is heartening to see the secretariat members convene again, even if for an informal one.
We need to hold successive political dialogues on the discussion tables if we want our peace process to succeed and enable us to achieve our objectives. Even though the opportunity to conduct official talks is present, external unofficial meetings are continued to be held. This will not put us on the path to peace.
The recent meeting was also informal but we need to work towards holding official discussions if we want to make any progress. We need to build trust first and to do that we must have discussions between the organizations of different beliefs to discover a common objective we all share.
Eternal peace requires all EAOs to be onboard and therefore we must discuss with non-signatories to build trust and have them sign the NCA. After all, the NCA is a comprehensive agreement that ensures the fighting is halted to allow political dialogue to operate smoothly.
The UPDJC has a crucial role in ensuring a democratic federal republic is established in line with results from the political dialogues and with all the democracy, national equity and autonomy outlined in the 7-point roadmap of the NCA. The UPDJC’s responsibility, accountability and willingness to work for the benefit of the people is fundamental in this endeavour.
However, we currently cannot fully implement the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong and agreements. We must not maintain a tight grip on our beliefs but instead engage in discussions to reach a middle ground.
The peace process is reaching its deadline and the fundamental federal principles and democratic principles must be finalized before 2020. This is the wish of all the people of Myanmar. We must hold successive peace talks and strive for the inclusion of all non-signatories and complete union agreements.
To that end, the government, the Tatmadaw, EAOs and political organizations must work together. We believe they will find a solution soon.