Discussions with government, Tatmadaw leaders on non-signatories’ affairs, differences between groups continue.
The third Summit of Ethnic armed forces signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (3rd NCA-S EAO Summit) was held for four days in Chiang Mai, Thailand from 8 to 11 September.
Attending the summit were top leaders from the 10 NCA EAO signatories and relevant representatives.
Assuming the role of panel chairs on the fourth day were Saw Mutu Say Poe, Ywat Sit and Kyar Kun Sar. The summit discussed the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee’s reports, the NCA-S EAO’s operations, and the non-signatories.
Karen National Union (KNU) Chairman Saw Mutu Say Poe delivered the opening speech at the summit, saying that he felt gratified observing the serious discussions on peace in the past three days of the summit. He said it was a good sign that a common agreement could be reached from the different perspectives, considerations and standpoints discussed. He said it is their policy to practically accept these differences. He added that if unity exists between all of us then it will be that much easier to attain the lasting peace and federal democratic union we all wish for.
We need to base our debates and discussions on generosity, open-mindedness and national reconciliation, said Saw Mutu Say Poe. He said that all three days discussed that the stakeholders held different fundamental understandings and had deep disparities. He said there are hesitations in the political dialogues because there are no set agreements concerning the political sphere. He said the last day of the summit will focus on finding solutions to this.
The four-day summit discussed and reviewed such matters as the third session of the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong and the framework for political dialogue, the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee’s operations, off the record discussions, and the future peace process operations of the EAOs who have signed the NCA.
Saw Mutu Say Poe also delivered the closing speech, saying there are now 10 signatories to the NCA and he is delighted to see the step by step process the summit has taken regarding future operations and negotiating perspectives. He urged all 10 NCA signatories to foster generosity and an open mind, coupled with unity, on the path to the federal democratic union everyone wishes for. He said the nationalities have no desire to break away from the nation. He said even though Bogyoke Aung San wrote in the 1947 Panglong agreement that any who do not like associating with the Bamar can leave, they discussed attaining true federalism in a meeting in Taunggyi. He said the Taunggyi meeting records can be read. Non-dissolution of the union and realizing a true union were the basis for their actions, said Saw Mutu Say Poe. He added that it has and still is the perspective of the ethnic people.
The summit was attended by 49 representatives from the 10 EAO signatories to the NCA.
On the last day of the summit, an announcement containing five principles was released.
The announcement called for a tri-party meeting between leaders of the government, Tatmadaw and EAOs to set a political agreement to address the hesitations in the political dialogues of the peace process. Saw Mutu Say Poe is elected as the leader of the Peace Process Steering Team (PPST) and the deputy leader and members were chosen as well. The New Mon State Party (NMSP) and Lahu Democratic Union (LDU), who have recently signed the NCA, will be included as PPST+2.
The announcement continued that PPST will discuss and negotiate between the NCA signatories and non-signatories for a common agreement and objectives for the future reconciliation of Myanmar based on democracy and the federal system and national reconciliation. The PPST will endeavor to convene a meeting with top leaders from all EAOs. The announcement also contained the five points discussed between the State Counsellor and the EAO signatories to the NCA on 23 July 2018.
Ye Kaung Nyunt