NCA-Signatory EAOs to Hold Summit in May

Representatives from the ethnic armed groups will form a new leadership structure to the Peace Process Steering Committee.


Friday, March 8, 2019

Ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) signatory to Burma’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with the government and military will hold a summit this May in which they will form a new leadership structure, representatives from the groups said.

The news was confirmed in a press conference following a special meeting of the Peace Process Steering Committee (PPST) on Thursday in Chiang Mai, Thailand, as well as new changes to the committee’s representatives.

In the PPST meeting, Karen National Union (KNU) chairperson Gen Saw Mutu Say Poe and chairperson of the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) Gen Yawd Serk resigned from their leadership posts within the PPST and were replaced by others from their organizations.

“RCSS chairman Gen Yawd Serk was replaced by Maj-Gen Bawng Khur, who is a central executive committee member as well as a leader on RCSS’s peace negotiation committee. KNU chairman Gen Saw Mutu Say Poe was replaced with general secretary Padoh Saw Tadoh Moo,” RCSS/SSA spokesperson Col Sai Nguen said in the press conference.

It was determined in the three-day meeting, held from March 5-7, that the EAO summit would be held in May, and that a new structure to the PPST and further changes to the leadership would be explored at that time. The date is tentatively set for May 14, according to a statement released following the meeting. The PPST will also continue to implement the NCA.

The PPST formed a working committee to further discuss a three-point letter sent to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma Army commander-in-chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing. The letter touched on issues relating to the proposed end of the peace process in 2020, different federal aims, conflicting understandings of the NCA, and talk of a “Union army.”

“We want to seek a resolution by having a meeting with the respective national leaders. Even though we have the common goal of building a federal Union, we don’t have an actual roadmap for it, so we want to discuss what [issues] we are worried about,” KNU general secretary Padoh Saw Tadoh Moo said. “In our experience in the last meeting [the third session of the Union Peace Conference], we could not discuss the key issues relating to building a federal Union. We could only discuss minor issues, which did not support the building of a federal Union. Therefore, we want to change it,” he explained.

A total of 56 people participated in the recent PPST meeting, including leaders of the steering committee, EAO representatives, and technical support team members. Issues discussed ranged from the upcoming summit to the roadmap towards a future federal Union to amendments to the 2008 Constitution to Burma’s controversial Vacant, Fallow, and Virgin Land Management Law.