Northern Alliance, Gov’t Expected to Meet at End of July

The meeting will be the first between the two sides since April 30.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Representatives of four non-ceasefire ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) based in northern Burma are expected to meet with the government at the end of July to discuss the possibility of signing bilateral ceasefire agreements, according to sources familiar with the plan.

The four EAOs—the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Arakan Army (AA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA)—are all members of the Northern Alliance, a military coalition that is actively engaged in fighting with the Burma Army.

“Well, they will definitely meet, likely at the end of this month,” said Sam Awng of the Kachin Peace-talk Creation Group (Kachin PCG). “I don’t know the exact date or venue, but I think it will be a venue agreeable to both sides. And it will be inside Burma.”

Col. Naw Bu, the head of the information department of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political wing of the KIA, confirmed the report.

“Regarding the meeting, the [Burma] Army and the NRPC proposed a date around the middle of July. But I cannot confirm the exact meeting schedule,” he said, referring to the government’s National Reconciliation and Peace Center.

Representatives of the NRPC and the four members of the Northern Alliance last met in the Sino-Burmese border town of Muse on April 30. The alliance submitted its draft ceasefire proposal at that meeting.

Since then, the two sides have been unable to agree on a venue for further talks, sources told NMG. However, the NRPC submitted its own proposals to the groups when they gathered in Mongla, the headquarters of the NDAA, to mark the 30th anniversary of the group’s founding.

“Both sides have already seen each other’s proposed agreements and may be ready to sign ceasefires after they have completed their negotiations. Even if they don’t sign anything, they will continue negotiating,” Sam Awn told NMG.

According to Col. Naw Bu, the KIO’s central committee members have been discussing the NRPC’s draft proposal. “It is still under discussion by the members of the central committee. We’ll see what the outcome is after the discussions,” he said.

The four members of the Northern Alliance are the KIO/KIA, the United League of Arakan/AA, the Myanmar National Truth and Justice Party/MNDAA (Kokang Army), and the Palaung State Liberation Front /TNLA.

The four EAOs are also members of the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee.