Gov’t, Non-NCA Signatories Agree to Meet Every Two Months

A spokesperson for the government said it was able to find common ground with the armed groups that attended the informal peace meeting.

By Network Media Group
March 23, 2019

The government’s peace team and eight armed groups, not part of the nationwide ceasefire agreement, signed a five-point agreement including to meet at least every two months during a meeting at the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) in Naypyidaw, the capital of Burma.

U Zaw Htay, a spokesperson for the State Counsellor’s office, told journalists that as part of the agreement non-NCA signatory groups and the government will meet every second month.

Zaw Htay said: “First, we’ll continue negotiating for reducing armed clashes. Second, all stakeholders will continue to negotiate for maintaining stability in the country. Third, both sides will focus on regional development. Fourth, political problems will be solved by political means. Fifth, there will be further meetings between top-level leaders that are able to make (important) decisions.”

The Arakan Army, currently fighting with the Burma Army in northern Rakhine and southern Chin states, sent representatives to the meeting.

“We didn’t talk to each other in the past,” said Col. Kyaw Han, a spokesperson for AA. “Now that we are participating in the meeting and plan for further meetings, I think it’s improving.”

Things will get better if the five-point agreement is honoured, he said.

“If both sides are honestly committed to implementing the agreement the clashes are likely to be reduced. But if this doesn’t happen the situation will remain the same,” Kyaw Han said.

The government and AA were able to find common ground during discussions, Zaw Htay said. Both agreed that fighting between AA and the Burma Army is harming civilians.

“These clashes are affecting local people. We have to discuss how to reduce the fighting as fast as we can,” he said. “They (AA) can discuss directly with the Burma Army’s negotiation team.”