Mon Groups Review Peace Conference Issues, Strategies

Mon civil society, political parties and the NMSP are meeting separately to prepare for a fourth session of the 21st Century Panglong Conference.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Mon civil society organizations and political parties held separate meetings over the last week to review matters related to the Union Peace Conference, also known as the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference.

The political parties’ meeting took place from August 21 until September 1, with civil society convening from September 1-2 in Mawlamyine. The New Mon State Party (NMSP) will hold its own meeting this week in the area under its control.

“The agreements that came out of the third round of the 21st Century Panglong conference were very weak,” said Nai San Tin, joint secretary of the All Mon Region Democracy Party and the newly appointed Joint Secretary (2) of the Mon Party, a merger of Mon political parties. “In this review meeting, we are trying to find a solution to address the needs if a fourth round of the conference takes place,” he added.

Members of the Union Peace and Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) secretariat team attended the review meeting and spoke about the peace process and federalism.

“The major problem in the last Panglong conference is agreement,” UPDJC member Min Zayar Oo told NMG, referring to the third peace conference session held in July. “The Union Accord must be accepted by all stakeholders. It’s not only for Mon nationals—there are some ethnic armed organizations that still need to sign the NCA [Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement]. Those non-signatories must agree to the conference results. Currently there is no meaningful result for ethnic people that came out of the last Panglong conference.”

There were a total of 14 points of agreement that resulted from the third round of the conference, including four political points, one economic point, seven social points, and two concerning land and the environment. Participants were barred from discussing security issues.

According to Mon representatives, only a few issues raised in the Mon national level political dialogue in Ye Township were discussed in the conference session; they related to land and social issues.

“Political issues were not discussed in the last Panglong conference, so we need to review it,” said Dr. Min New Soe, who discussed federalism at the review meeting. “We have to prepare for more discussion in the coming fourth round of the conference. We have to prepare our best for the section on political dialogue.”

The third round of the Union Peace Conference took place from July 11-16 in Naypyidaw. Participants from the government, Parliament, army, political parties and ethnic armed organizations attended the event.

In addition to the 14 points of agreement that came out of the third session, there were 37 points of agreement from the second round of the conference, making the total 51 points.