Understanding, unity more important than the number of agreements achieved


With the signing of Part II of the Union Accord, the Third Session of the Union Peace Conference-21st Century Panglong came to a successful end yesterday, becoming a milestone in our history.
Fourteen points were reached for Union Accord Part II during the six days of the conference. Agreements were reached after days of debate that was sometimes intense, but always conducted with mutual respect and understanding.
The 14 points included four points in the political sector, one in the economic sector, seven in the social sector and two in the farmland sector. No agreement was reached in the security sector during this session.
More than a year passed after the Second Session and before the Third Session of the conference was held. But the wait was worth it, because the recently completed Third Session of the Union Peace Conference-21st Century Panglong ended with fruitful results.
The Third Session shows that our peacemaking efforts are going forward. Maybe the number of agreements reached at the conference was low, but we have witnessed that our collective efforts conducted with mutual respect can bring about positive results, which will continue to move the process forward. This is the essence of the Union Peace Conference-21st Century Panglong.
Further progress can be seen with the attendance of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) non-signatories to the Third Session at the invitation of the Union Government. The non-signatories held talks with the government and the Tatmadaw separately. Their participation in the conference can only be seen as significant progress.
Another achievement is that all peacemakers issued a declaration after the Third Session that they would hold the next conference in 2018 and two in 2019, and that they are committed to working towards laying down the principles for a democracy and a federal system as a foundation for our future democratic federal Union.
This declaration of the Third Session of the Union Peace Conference-21st Century Panglong has shown our commitment to the country that we will not reduce our diligence and will take more firm steps. Our future is in our hands, and we must continue.
Agreements in the security sector play an important role in the peacemaking process. To break the deadlock in the security sector, we will need to boldly review our political framework and structure.
Meanwhile, to overcome our challenges, a peace strategy is required to implement our common goal, which was declared on the last day of the Third Session. Based on that strategy, we need to reform the political framework as soon as possible.
At the same time, the Union Government is stepping up efforts for promoting the socio-economic status of the ethnic people in conflict areas so that our national reconciliation efforts can positively impact their lives. It is important for the people to see that the peace process is not just meetings among the Government, Tatmadaw and ethnic armed organisations, but also a way to improve the lives of all citizens.
The Union Government is not approaching the peace process as a leader but as a facilitator among the stakeholders in order to bring about good results. We believe the Third Session of the Union Peace Conference-21st Century Panglong has been very successful, showing that understanding, unity in a common goal, lasting strength are more important than the number of agreements achieved.

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