PPST Prepares for Resumption of Peace Talks with Gov’t, Army

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Peace Process Steering Team (PPST) has formed two working committees in anticipation of peace talks with government and Tatmadaw (Burma Army) negotiators that are expected to take place in the near future.

The PPST, which consists of ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) that have signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), made the announcement on Sunday at the conclusion of a five-day meeting held in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

“We have formed a 10-member negotiation team that will discuss ways to break the deadlock in the peace process and try to find ways of moving it forward. We will resume dialogue meetings soon,” said Gen. Yawd Serk, the chairman of the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), an NCA-signatory group.

According to Gen. Yawd Serk, who is also the temporary chairman of the PPST, the working committees will be tasked with laying the groundwork for high-level official negotiations.

“We expect that the path for official peace talks and the holding of the 21st Century Panglong Conference will be opened through meetings of working committees from both sides,” he said on Sunday.

In addition to a committee that will focus on issues that have caused the peace process to stall, which will be led by Col. Sai Nguen of the RCSS/SSA, the PPST has also formed a committee that will seek to strengthen the ceasefire.

“We have also formed another working committee that will focus on making sure the ceasefire is firm. This working committee will consist of EAO military officials and EAO representatives from the JMC [Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee]. It will have 10 members and be led by Padoh Saw Sel Gey,” said PPST spokesperson Padoh Saw Tar Doh Moo.

According to the PPST, the NCA consists of two parts. The first deals with issues related to the ceasefire, and the second is concerned with building a foundation for a federal union.

The EAO leaders who attended the meeting last week also affirmed their commitment to maintaining the PPST and welcomed two new members into its ranks.

“The NMSP and the LDU have become full members of the PPST, giving it new strength. We thank the respective leaders,” said Gen. Yawd Serk, referring to the New Mon State Party and the Lahu Democratic Union.

The PPST was originally formed by eight EAOs after they signed the NCA with the previous Thein Sein government. The NMSP and the LDU, which signed the agreement with the current National League for Democracy government, previously attended PPST meetings as observers.

A total of 72 people attended last week’s five-day meeting in Chiang Mai, including PPST leaders, representatives of the 10 NCA-signatory EAOs, members of their respective technical support teams, and office staff.

The EAOs that have signed the NCA are the RCSS/SSA, the NMSP, the LDU, the Karen National Union, the Pa-O National Liberation Organization, the Chin National Front, the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front, the Karen National Liberation Army Peace Council, the Arakan Liberation Party, and the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army.