Representatives of National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC) and representatives of the four groups KIO, PSLF, MNTJP and ULA met at Shan State Kengtung Town Amazing Kentong Resort yesterday morning and discussed ceasefire agreement proposal.
Regarding the ongoing armed engagements in Shan State, the Government side discussed stopping ongoing armed engagements as soon as possible, attempts to block the Union Road, attacking civilian targets and destruction of bridges and roads hurting the socio economy of the people.
The two sides discussed on involvement of ethnic armed organizations yet to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), proposals in Bilateral Ceasefire Agreement including deployment of forces, preventing further armed engagements, internal displaced persons (IDPs), signing of Bilateral Ceasefire Agreement (BCA), steps to be taken after signing BCA and general matters.
Agreement was reached to meet again on 16, 17 September to discuss signing Bilateral Ceasefire Agreement and the venue was to be coordinated.
The meeting was attended by NRPC representatives consisting of NRPC Vice Chairman U Thein Zaw, NRPC Secretary Lt-Gen (Retd.) Khin Zaw Oo, NRPC advisor U Moe Zaw Oo, Shan State minister for security and border affairs Col. Hla Oo, Ministry of State Counsellor Office Director General U Zaw Htay and Peace Advocate U Thet Naing, KIO representative head KIO general secretary, MNTJP representative group head, ULA representative head ULA secretary general and PSLF representative group head PSLF vice chair. Peace-talk Creation Group (PCG) representatives attended the meeting as observers.
NRPC representatives and representatives of four ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) had met in Muse on 30 April and Mongla on 30 June for bilateral ceasefire agreement and this was the third meeting.
After the day’s meeting NRPC and KIO, PSLF, MNTJP, ULA representatives issued a 6 points joint communiqué.
Also after the meeting, Ministry of State Counsellor Office Director General U Zaw Htay held a press conference.
U Zaw Htay said the meeting covered many matters. The first was death of civilians in Kutkai today. NRPC discussed current armed engagements along the Union Road. Death of civilians was discussed by our side while EAOs discussed their views and opinions. Finally the discussion focused future works. First was to stop the ongoing armed engagements as soon as possible.
Second point discussed was how to reach an agreement at the present situation where the people were suffering. Government’s proposal was given at Mongla meeting while the four groups gave their proposal in today’s meeting. Next meeting date was agreed and a joint communiqué was issued, said,U Zaw Htay.
Next meeting is in September with EAOs proposing either Pangsang or some venue in China. NRPC has recognized EAOs request to include Tatmadaw representative in the next meeting. That was why NRPC proposed the next meeting venue as Kengtung to which the Tatmadaw representative can come. Both sides took what the other side had proposed.
On the matter of non-inclusion of Tatmadaw representatives in the day’s meeting, U Zaw Htay explained that Tatmadaw had agreed to the day’s meeting and will participate in the next meeting where force deployment, rules and regulations to prevent armed engagement were discussed.
On steps required to reduce armed engagements, U Zaw Htay said ongoing armed engagements need to be stopped as soon as possible. Deployment of forces is required and both being armed means that there can be armed engagements. The main point to discuss was on setting up rules and regulations. This was agreed in today’s meeting, said U Zaw Htay.
Regarding the ongoing armed engagements, U Zaw Htay said the X-Ray machine was bought with the intension of being priority work of the President for drug eradication and it costed millions in dollar. This machine does not violate the right of ethnic nationals nor harm the ethnic nationals. It was disappointing that this machine was destroyed. Destruction of roads and bridges only affect the people, said U Zaw Htay.
Government policy was clear. Any attack targeting civilian is a terrorist act. Armed conflict was not a solution. Fighting for equal rights, self-determination and federalism will not give an answer. Armed conflict makes the country lag behind. Myanmar had the longest ongoing armed conflict that only hurt the country. This could be resolved with political solution through political discussion. Government always kept the peace door open and had no intention to lock it up. The only thing was to attend the meeting and put up the demands and requirements. Only there can political agreement can be reached, said U Zaw Htay.
The aim of the day’s meeting was to end the ongoing armed engagement, sign Bilateral Ceasefire Agreement, conduct force deployment, said U Zaw Htay and responded to questions raised by the media.
According to U Zaw Htay the government was working on signing Bilateral Ceasefire Agreement with KIO, MNTJP, PSLF and ULA for more than eight months. — Ye Khaung Nyunt (Translated by Zaw Min)