NCA Signatory Groups Propose Inclusive Meeting With Non-Signatories

‘There may be an alternative way to the current peace process with the NCA,’ said the KNU’s Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo Win.


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ethnic armed group signatories to Burma’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) have agreed to hold a meeting inclusive of NCA non-signatories in the near future.

“Non-signatory ethnic armed organizations want to walk on an alternative path,” said Karen National Union (KNU) vice chairman  Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo Win, following a summit of NCA-signatory armed groups in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from September 8-11. “An all-inclusive meeting of ethnic armed organizations must take place as soon as possible, because there may be an alternative way to the current peace process with the NCA,” he explained, adding that such a forum could be a place to exchange ideas and opinions among the groups.

Like summit chairpersonGen Saw Mutu Say Poe, also of the KNU, Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo Win emphasized the need to find common ground with other armed groups.

Chairman of the Chin National Front (CNF) Pu Zing Cung—also an NCA signatory—described the current peace process as being in a “deadlock” and political dialogue in Burma as at a “standstill.” He recommended that the “top 10” leaders from the government, army, and NCA signatory and non-signatory ethnic armed organizations hold an informal meeting to address these challenges.

“We decided that a meeting at the decision-making level needs to take place in order to find a solution. I think it’s very important,” Pu Zing Cung said.

The last meeting of “top 10” leaders from the government, military and NCA signatory ethnic armed groups took place in July. Among the issues discussed were the Union Peace Conference, secession, self-determination, minority rights and state structure. In a future meeting, ethnic armed groups also wish to discuss the issue of a Union army, a simplification of the existing political decision-making process, and how NCA non-signatory ethnic groups can join the peace process.

The current NCA signatory ethnic armed organizations 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.