NCA Signatories Kick Off Summit
Non-signatories to the NCA were also invited but were not present at the initial proceedings of the event.
By NETWORK MEDIA GROUP (NMG)
Monday, September 10, 2018
The third summit of ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) signatory to Burma’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) began on Saturday in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The four-day event follows a meeting of the Peace Process Steering Committee, in which it was decided that invitations would be extended to representatives from the Federal Political Negotiation Consultative Committee (FPNCC)—a coalition of NCA non-signatories—and the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), also a non-signatory. However, no members from the FPNCC or the KNPP were present in the initial proceedings of the summit. On the second day, KNPP attended the meeting as observer.
Participants in the meetings will review the outcomes of the Union Peace Conference sessions thus far, as well as the existing political dialogue framework, and future strategic action of the EAO signatories.
Pu Zing Cung, chairman of the Chin National Front (CNF) and a summit spokesperson, said that he hopes the event will help move peace process implementation forward.
“Currently, the Union Accords I and II have already been achieved. This means we are at Level 6 in the implementation of the NCA. Every step is very important. That’s why this summit is very important too,” he explained to media, adding that the groups would discuss how to overcome issues on which they remain deadlocked, such as self-determination and the right to secession.
Pu Zing Cung added that they would also talk about the “very important issues” of DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration) and SSR (Security Sector Reform), and work toward unifying their positions in regard to these processes.
In his opening speech, summit chairperson Gen Saw Mutu Say Poe of the Karen National Union (KNU) said that the EAO representatives “have to choose the way that supports trust building in the peace process and cooperation to achieve long lasting peace.”
“We have faced deadlock in the political dialogue because we don’t have any common political ground,” he said, adding that their meetings should focus on common goals and identifying common values for a future democratic federal Union.
This is why the peace process should involve NCA non-signatory EAOs, Gen Saw Mutu Say Poe explained, even if it is through informal meetings.
The current NCA signatory EAOs are the CNF, KNU, Restoration Council of Shan State, All Burma Students’ Democratic Front, Pa-O National Liberation Organization, Arakan Liberation Party, Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, Karen National Liberation Army-Peace Council, New Mon State Party, and the Lahu Democratic Union.