Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Message of Greetings sent by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Chairperson of National Reconciliation and Peace Centre, on occasion of 5th Anniversary of signing of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement
14th Waning of Tawthalin, 1382 ME
15th October 2020
1. On this day, five years ago, the Union Government and the leaders of the EAOs (Ethnic Armed Organizations) signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. To achieve lasting peace, we have firmly resolved to complete the agreed tasks of the NCA together without fail, based on duty, responsibility and transparency. It could be said that we have walked on the NCA path on the road to peace for five years.
2. The fact that we have been celebrating the anniversaries of the signing of the NCA means that we are reaffirming our promise to continue the implementation of the agreements reached in the NCA. It is a testimony of the fact that all concerned are marching forward in unity with firm beliefs with respect to the implementation of the NCA. However, I am sending this Message of Greetings because it is not possible to celebrate this event as in previous years due to the rules and regulations imposed for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19.
3. The difficulties and challenges that we have encountered during the past five years with respect to the implementation of the NCA were discussed and negotiated among the various groups; we have now been able to reach agreement on how to overcome these challenges. At this time, among all the ethnic nationalities, there are no differences of opinion as to the common goal of building a Democratic Federal Union, and this has become our common dream for a Union. To materialize this dream together in a pragmatic way, we now have work programmes for different steps and agreements for the implementation of these steps. In the same way, we have been able to reach agreement on our common aspirations for building a Democratic Federal Union, something which has been our hope for many years. This is Part 3 of the Union Accord which was signed at the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong, Fourth Session.
4. After signing the NCA, during a period of five years, we convened the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong for four times. We were able to sign Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the Union Accord. We were able to convene the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong successfully in Nay Pyi Taw in accordance with the rules and regulations prescribed for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19 with the participation and support of individuals and organizations from the Union Government, Hluttaw, Tatmadaw, EAOs, and political parties. Part 3 of the Union Accord which was signed at the said conference could be regarded as an important milestone for peace which is very important for national reconciliation and internal peace; it contains precise policies for implementation, practical programmes, steps for implementation and the aspirations of the future Union; all these are needed for building the Democratic Federal Union in the post-2020 period.
5. The three programmes for peace which will be implemented during the post-2020 period are as follows:
(a) First Programme: National reconciliation and internal peace. These two programmes to be implemented in tandem. Negotiations will be conducted with EAOs which have not yet signed the NCA to reach ceasefire agreements and to bring them to the political negotiations. While conducting these negotiations, efforts will be made with increased momentum to consolidate the ceasefire agreements already reached with EAOs who are signatories of the NCA; furthermore, negotiations will be conducted to undertake reform measures to strengthen and increase the effectiveness of the ceasefire monitoring mechanisms. At the same time, efforts will be made to uplift the rights of ethnic nationalities and to ensure that legal reforms are in harmony as these are the forerunners of compacts that will lead to federalism; also measures taken in the administrative sector will be aligned towards equal rights.
(b) Second Programme: Democratic transition and establishment of a Federal Union. These two programmes to be implemented in tandem. Negotiations will be continued with respect to section 3, Part 3 of the Union Accord, which deals with fundamental guidelines for the establishment of the Democratic Union to take care of the points that need further negotiations; a consensus will be sought with respect to the nature of the state constitutions. At the same time, the policy for political negotiations will be amended to make it practical in accordance with Schedule (1) of the step-by-step programme and step-by-step implementation for the post 2020 period. After that, efforts will be made to obtain Schedule (2) which will contain the detailed headings of Schedule (1) which spells out the step-by-step programmes and step-by-step implementations for the post 2020 period which has already been agreed. In dealing with democratic transition and establishment of a Federal Union, thorough negotiations and discussions will be held for a programme for political and security integration harmoniously; implementation mechanisms and practical implementation modalities.
(c) Third Programme: Implementation of programmes for amendment of the Constitution based on the agreements that will emerge from the First and Second Programmes. As discussions are made on the step-by-step programmes based on the guidelines, a political policy will emerge which everyone can agree. A political agreement will be reached at the working committee level, with the participation of technical experts in accordance with the NCA road map, to undertake the task of amending laws, including the Constitution. Efforts will be made to formulate and implement programmes systematically through consultations, as to how the Constitution should be amended, how the matter of drawing up state constitutions should be dealt with, and how the programme for security integration could be carried out harmoniously.
6. We will continue our efforts to implement with increased momentum in the post-2020 period, the “New programme for establishing the Democratic Federal Union in the post-2020 period” which would make it possible to effectively and harmoniously implement the above three programmes for peace which needs to be implemented further in the post-2020 period. This will be done after review by various working groups, inviting suggestions from those who participated in the programmes and studies and comments made on how implementation has been carried out. This new programme will be carried out to implement Part 3 of the Union Accord effectively, to support the strengthening of the UPDJC and JMC mechanisms along the NCA path, to provide technical support to the representatives of working groups who are participating in the negotiations at various levels, and to be able to select viable options for solving political problems in a pragmatic manner.
7. In Myanmar where different ethnic nationalities and ethnic races are living side by side, it may be seen that it is very important to recognize our diversity and turn it into strength; for this, we need to establish a genuine Democratic Federal Union. We shall continue to strive with firm resolve for reconciliation and success of the peace process in a country where internal armed conflicts have existed for over 70 years, reconciliation among the combatants, the establishment of a genuine Democratic Federal Union which has been the aspiration of all our ethnic nationalities and peoples. I send this Message of Greetings with a solemn pledge to continue working relentlessly for the success of our programmes to prevent and contain COVID-19 which we are facing at present; to successfully carry out a free and fair multi-party democracy general elections in a safe and secure manner, and for the success of the New Programme for the establishment of a Democratic Federal Republic in the post-2020 period. (Translated by Kyaw Myaing)