Govt Peace Commission, EAOs to Hold Informal Meetings in Thailand

 The RCSS and KNPP will meet a Burmese government delegation for informal talks.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Burmese government’s Peace Commission and a selection of ethnic armed organizations will meet for informal talks in Chiang Mai, Thailand on Sunday and Monday of this week.

NMG was able to confirm that the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) will meet the government delegation on this trip.

KNPP vice chairperson Khu Oo Reh told NMG that no topics of discussion had been agreed upon in advance.

“They informed us it will be a one-on-one meeting. We are going to meet them separately,” he said.

Representing the Burmese government will be the retired Lt-Gen Khin Zaw Oo, as well as U Aung Soe, U Kyaw Lin Oo, director-general of the President’s Office U Zaw Htay, and Peace Commission advisor U Hla Maung Shwe.

The RCSS/SSA’s meeting will be led by one the organization’s secretaries as Gen Yawd Serk is unavailable, according to RCSS spokesperson Maj Sai Mueng.

“Our chairman is busy and he won’t attend the meeting. But Secretary (3) Col Sai Nguen will lead the delegation for this mission,” Maj Sai Mueng told NMG.

Like the KNPP, the RCSS representative said that there have been no topics agreed upon for the discussions.

“We don’t have any advance agreement for this informal meeting. In the past, we agreed to hold discussions with Burma Army [Tatmadaw]. The Burma Army has already set up a negotiation team—we welcome it. We haven’t had communication with the Tatmadaw’s negotiation team, but we are now going to meet the Peace Commission,” Maj Sai Mueng said.

NMG was unable to confirm at the time of reporting whether representatives of the Karen National Union (KNU) would also be meeting with the Peace Commission’s delegation, although information of this nature had been leaked.

A Peace Commission delegation led by Lt-Gen Khin Zaw Oo informally met the RCSS, KNPP, KNU, and Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) leaders in Chiang Mai in November of last year. They discussed the deadlock in the peace process, and how it might be overcome.

Representatives of the Burmese government, the Tatmadaw and EAOs which are signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement met in Naypyidaw from October 15-18, 2018, to discuss the issues of “one army,” non-secession, and self-determination. Negotiations were unable to move forward, and peace talks continue to be at a stalemate.