(20 August, 2020)
I wish to extend my welcome greetings to all the representatives who have come to attend the UPDJC (Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee) 20th meeting. I pray for your good health with Metta. We will discuss and approve at today’s UPDJC meeting the three parts of Part III of the Union Accord, which was tabled at the conference yesterday. We still need to do further work for it to be ready for signature at the conference.
The first point I wish to say is about the matter of the basic principles, which are already included in Part I of the Union Accord that was signed at the UPC – 21st Century Panglong Second Session and Part II of the Union Accord that was signed at the UPC – 21st Century Panglong Third Session.
We have already been able to obtain 51 basic principles from the various parts of the Union Accord, which we have already signed at the aforesaid two conferences. What are we going to do with these basic principles? Aren’t we going to use them? Such kinds of questions exist. I want to say, don’t worry about them. In Part II of the Union Accord which deals with the step by step programme and step by step implementations in the post–2020 period which will be signed at the present conference, we have achieved agreement only on (8) main headings. These (8) main headings are included in the five main sectors such as political, economy, social, security, land resources and environment which are part of the framework for political discussions formulated and adopted by our UPDJC. As we conduct the step by step discussions, the (5) main basic principles which we have achieved earlier would find their places under the respective main headings as basic principles which have already been agreed upon.
What we need to do now is to put the 51 basic principles which have already been agreed upon after thorough discussions by all of us, under their respective headings and proceed with the step by step implementations. What I wish to say is that we need to continue our discussions about the other headings and when we have Table 2 for step by step implementation we would arrive at a situation whereby we would be ready to implement the basic principles of Part I and Part II of the original Union Accord.
The second point I wish to talk about is regarding the matter of amending the framework for political negotiations. UPDJC has the duty to manage and provide leadership for the political negotiations; it also has the main duty to formulate the framework for political negotiations and make amendments to improve its quality. If we look back and make an appraisal, the framework for political negotiations which was formulated by our UPDJC and amended for over 10 times, we may see that it mainly contains details such as who should participate, how the negotiations are to be conducted, and what matters should be discussed. There are 8 TORs and one SOP which have been drawn up based on the framework for political negotiations.
Since our TORs and SOPs were drawn up based on the framework for political negotiations, it contains more about conducting meetings and negotiations. This is because we were working towards obtaining basic principles for the Union Accord; that is the reason it has taken on this kind of shape and form. If we look further ahead to survey the tasks and programmes for UPDJC, we would have to give priority to the task of drawing up a Framework for Political Negotiations that would be in harmony with the step by step work plan and step by step implementation for the post–2020 period, which we will be agreeing and signing at this present conference. We need to continue with our step by step discussions; as to how the political agreements obtained by the UPDJC should be implemented would have to be discussed and negotiated at the work committees. That is why our UPDJC needs to have many more discussions and negotiations to produce a framework for political negotiations which is workable and pragmatic.
The third point is the future of UPDJC. Our country held many peace talks in the past. However, the Union Peace Conference— 21st Century Panglong and its related discussions have appeared as the first peace dialogue since the country has regained its independence. The UPDJC is the leading body to organize peace talks. It is a tripartite body formed with three sides in proportional participation of representatives from the government, the Hluttaw and the Tatmadaw at one hand, the NCA-S EAOs are another side, and the political parties include in the remaining front.
These groups have different backgrounds and diversities of stance. However, these groups worked together in the UPDJC for the common goal to develop a peace and stable Democracy Federal Union; in line with its tripartite structure, the committee could help for holding the upcoming Conference.
You had already made heated arguments and suspension of talks in awkward situations before respective groups made negotiations. Some unexpected issues delayed the discussions which were assumed as the productive talks. Among these political climates and various circumstances, the UPDJC becomes gradually mature. In the past, discussions could be made only at the formal sessions, and some delays occurred in making agreements. At present, informal talks and prior negotiations were also held in a new approach among the committee members. As a result, some severe disputes could be avoided at the formal UPDJC meetings.
Better understanding and mutual trust could be made each other. One side has come to realize the other’s feelings. These are the good results of UPDJC in taking future steps. Instead of grasping firmly on individual desires of each group, it will be better to consider the interests of the Union and all the national people. Right deeds could generate excellent results. It is essential to understand that we all are getting a historic opportunity for the better future of the Union where we are living together.
In conclusion, I want to express my heartfelt thanks. We all have realized that only a genuine Federal Union could ensure peace; equal nationality rights could make national unity. It is our goal as well as the dream of our national people. Strenuous and united efforts of all UPDJC members have helped in holding the 21st Century Panglong up to its fourth session. The UPDJC is the focal body to address political problems. Practically, it is not an easy task to solve decades-old armed conflicts rooted in political issues. However, the UPDJC could move forward steadfastly despite a lot of ups and downs along with its move. I would like to conclude my speech by extending thanks, on behalf of the Union, to all the members of UPDJC, its secretaries, stakeholders and workgroup members for their hard efforts.
Thank you all.
(Translated by Kyaw Myaing, Aung Khin)