UPDJC Welcomes Informal Talks Between Govt, EAOs

Monday, December 14, 2020

The Tatmadaw, government and ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) have recently held informal meetings in an attempt to reignite Burma’s peace process, a move that has been endorsed by the Union Peace and Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC).

UPDJC leader Col Sai Nguen said that the meetings were “one of the steps” that could “move the future plans of the peace process forward.”

His comments were made at the December 11 convening of the UPDJC—made up of representatives of EAOs signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA)—where the armed groups discussed federal principles, Part III of the Union Accord, changes to the political dialogue framework, and future plans regarding the building of a federal Union.

Recent informal meetings with non-NCA signatories include one between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army in Panghsang, the headquarters of the United Wa State Army, on December 9 to discuss the peace process, issues related to Burma’s recent general election, and a ceasefire.

Representatives of the government and the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) also held an online conference on December 7.  

According to Col. Sai Nguen, NCA-signatory EAOs have formed a 10-member negotiation team which will function during the interim period before the ruling National League for Democracy forms a new government.

“Before the new government comes into power, NCA-signatory EAOs have opened a path for informal peace talks and meetings during the interim period,” Col Sai Nguen said.  

Last week, representatives from the government, Parliament, and military also met to address issues in the peace process, and, according to Sai Nguen, “came to a common agreement,” although it was not clear at the time of reporting what the specifics of their consensus entailed.

The UPDJC leader said he was optimistic about the future of the peace process. However, the government-led process has been widely criticized by civil society, non-NCA signatory EAOs and international observers as having failed to halt conflict in the country.