Peace Commission meets EAOs in Chiang Mai

Informal meeting between the Peace Commission and the Karen National Union on 17 November. PHOTO: EPRN
Informal meeting between the Peace Commission and the Karen National Union on 17 November. PHOTO: EPRN

A delegation from Myanmar, led by Peace Commission (PC) Secretary U Khin Zaw Oo, met informally with four ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) in Chaing Mai, Thailand, from 16 to 18 November.
The government’s negotiators met with representatives of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), led by Chairman Yawd Serk, on 16 November and with Karen National Union (KNU) representatives, led by General Secretary P’doh Saw Tah Doh Moo, on 17 November. Both RCSS and KNU are signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).
The government’s negotiators also met with Vice Chairman Khu Oo Reh of the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and his delegation, and with the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), separately, on 18 November. The KNPP and KIO have not signed the NCA.
Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee’s Secretariat member, U Hla Maung Shwe, said the three-day informal talks were held because several NCA signatory EAOs wanted to temporarily postpone formal discussions after the last conference. He said they agreed to holding informal talks so they can resolve issues and resume formal discussions.
He said when they met with the RCSS and KNU, they voiced their worries and reached some understanding from the two EAOs.
In the meeting with KNPP, they discussed some shortcomings at the grassroots level on trust-building, said U Hla Maung Shwe. He said they discussed everything regarding the signing of the NCA. He hoped that the non-signatories will sign the NCA as soon as possible after listening to the negotiators, as there is nothing left to do now except sign the agreement. The KIO did not discuss much but shared their thoughts and considerations.
The government’s delegation comprised U Khin Zaw Oo, PC member U Aung Soe, Director-General U Zaw Htay from the Ministry of the State Counsellor’s Office, U Hla Maung Shwe, and technological assistant U Kyaw Lin Oo.
U Zaw Htay said the meeting with KNU showed that both sides were firmly resolved to keep on track with the NCA. He said they discussed any difficulties relating to the NCA. “First, both sides have no desire to do away with the NCA. Second, we will report our discussions to our respective leaders and convene again as soon as possible. And third, we will try to resume formal political dialogue as quickly as we can,” he said. He said this can happen within two to three months or earlier.
The informal meeting with RCSS focused on matters concerning the Joint Monitoring Committee and the meeting with KNU focused on resuming formal discussions.
KNU General Secretary P’doh Saw Tah Doh Moo said the KNU has always said it will resolve political issues through political methods. He said the political discussions started by the NCA are the first steps towards a political dialogue.
The NCA stipulates there should be no hostility in discussions and no use of force to resolve disagreements or differences, so they are looking towards a future with sustainable peace, said the general secretary. He wished to tell the people that the NCA is the most suitable choice and they will proceed steadily from the foundational level. He added that they will continue to make the NCA path a true and fair direction.
The Union government will continue informal talks in order to implement the different levels of the peace process, to hold the Fourth Session of the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong, and to hold formal meetings with the KNU. — Ye Kaung Nyunt  (Translated by ZHO)

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