EAOs Likely to Hold Summit Before Union Peace Conference Session

By NETWORK MEDIA GROUP (NMG)
Saturday, January 18, 2020

Leaders among the 10 ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) have said that they would like to hold Ethnic Armed Groups summit including non-NCA signatory groups before the fourth session of the Union Peace Conference.

“We may try to hold an all-inclusive EAO summit together with non-NCA EAOs. Our aim is to support the strengthening of the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference,” Col Khun Okker of the Pa-O National Liberation Organization told NMG, adding that it remained unclear whether non-signatory groups would ultimately be able to attend.

The conference session is scheduled to be held during the last week of April.

The Peace Process Steering Team (PPST), made up of NCA-signatory EAO members, began its eighth meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand on January 17.

The Restoration Council of Shan State’s Gen Yawd Serk, who is acting chair of the PPST, said that leaders of 10 NCA-signatory EAOs need to discuss about how to persuade non-NCA EAOs to participate in the NCA process.

“We have to discuss how we are going to create practical circumstances under which non-NCA brotherhood organizations can join us in the future,” Gen Yawd Serk said in his opening speech.

According to the PPST’s leaders, on Friday, they mainly discussed three of the eight main points agreed to in the previously held Joint Implementation Coordination Meeting (JICM).

“First, we are going to discuss issues stated in the NCA’s chapters three, four and six. Secondly, we are going to discuss what we are going to do before and after the 2020 general elections. Third, we will try to draw up basic principles of a federal Union,” Col. Khun Okker told NMG.

Padoh Saw Tadoh Moo, general secretary of the Karen National Union, said that the KNU participated in official meeting because of the discussion around these three issues.

“The future of the peace process and the building of a federal Union is still uncertain. Our approach is to start with informal talks and then move on with formal talks,” the KNU general secretary said. “We are going to implement it with three steps. At the same time, we are going to negotiate and discuss the maintaining of the ceasefire agreement. The Tatmadaw accepts our approach. Therefore, we will join the formal peace talks.”

The NCA signatory groups include the All Burma Students Democratic Front, Arakan Liberation Party, Chin National Front, Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, Karen National Liberation Army-Peace Council, Karen National Union, New Mon State Party, Lahu Democratic Union, Pa-O National Liberation Organization, and the Restoration Council of Shan State.

EAOs not signatory to the NCA include but are not limited to the Karenni National Progressive Party, Naga Socialist Council of Nagaland – Kaplang, United Wa State Army, Kachin Independence Organization, Shan State Progress Party, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army – Kokang, National Democratic Alliance Army – Mongla, Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Arakan Army.

The Karenni National Progressive Party is negotiating with government regarding the NCA, and the Kachin Independence Organization, Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Arakan Army.
are negotiating with government around potentially signing a bilateral ceasefire agreement.