Peace Commission, EAO Leaders to Address Peace Process Deadlock

 The groups will hold an informal meeting in which information and opinions can be shared but official decisions will not be made.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Burmese government’s Peace Commission will have an informal meeting with the leaders of ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) signatory to the country’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in Chiang Mai, Thailand this week.

The November 16-19 discussions are an attempt to identify ways to overcome a current deadlock in Burma’s peace process involving issues of self-determination, secession rights and a federal army.

Signatory the Karen National Union (KNU) has announced a temporary withdrawal from peace talks, and the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) has recently said it will temporarily remove itself from meetings of the NCA’s Joint Monitoring Committee. The two organizations are the largest armed groups that have agreed to the ceasefire accord, which they signed in 2015.

Peace Commission member U Aung Soe confirmed the upcoming meeting, saying that he would receive more information in Yangon ahead of the event, which he will attend. Also present will reportedly be the former general Khin Zaw Oo, as well as U Hla Maung Shwe, U Zaw Htay and U Kyaw Lin Oo.

The commission will have separate meetings with the KNU, RCSS, the Karenni National Progressive Party—which is not a signatory to the NCA—as well as individuals such as peace advisor Harn Yawnghwe and director of the Pyidaungsu Institute Khuensai Jaiyen.

Khuensai compared the current challenges to a deadlock that occurred between the government and EAOs from August 2014 until March 2015. He said it took multiple discussions in order to move forward.

“At this time, both the peace commission and the EAOs believed that they could overcome the deadlock through informal meetings. That’s why we are going to meet [in this way],” he told NMG.

NMG contacted KNU general secretary Padoh Ta Doh Moo but he opted not to comment on the upcoming meeting, in which opinions will be shared but no decisions will be made.

In addition to the KNU and RCSS, the signatories to the NCA include the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front, Arakan Liberation Party, Chin National Front, Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, Karen National Liberation Army/Peace Council, Lahu Democratic Union, New Mon State Party, and the Pa-O National Liberation Organization.

During this Chiang Mai tripPeace Commission will also meet with leaders from Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) which has not signed NCA.