NCA-Signatories, Gov’t to Restart Peace Talks Next Week

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Peace Process Steering Committee (PPST), a grouping of ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) that have signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), will meet with government representatives in Yangon next week to discuss proposals to move the peace process forward.

A series of meetings will be held over a period of several days at the office of the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC), according to one of the groups that will be participating in the talks.

“Our political negotiation working committee is going to meet [the government] on September 9-11. The KNU [Karen National Union] will go ahead of us for a meeting on September 7. Our working committee will arrive a little later because we want to hold official peace talks,” Col. Khun Okkar, the patron of the Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO), told NMG.

Representatives of the PPST’s political negotiation working committee will attend the meeting. According to a spokesperson for the PPST, Col. Sai Nguen, who is secretary-2 of the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), will lead the committee’s delegation.

The talks are expected to focus on proposals on how to restart the peace process.

“We are going to discuss the government’s four-point ‘way forward’ proposal, our views on it, and deadlocked issues,” said Khun Okkar, adding that the situation “looks great”.

The government’s proposal covers four areas—implementation of the NCA, how the 2020 elections will affect the peace process, establishing basic principles of democracy and federalism, and post-NCA interim issues.

Representatives of the NRPC already met with representatives of the 10 NCA-signatory EAOs in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on August 19 to explain each of the four points in the proposal. The PPST members then held a separate meeting in Chiang Mai later in the month to discuss the proposal and formulate one of their own.

“The government has some plans of its own. We have our own proposal to put forward, and they have theirs. Our proposal includes what we should achieve before 2020, how we can move forward after 2020, and how we can try to find common ground based on different principles. We are going to negotiate these points with [the government],” Padoh Saw Tar Doh Moo said in press conference in Chiang Mai after the PPST meeting.

The EAOs that have signed the NCA are the KNU, the PNLO, the RCSS/SSA, the Chin National Front, the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front, the Karen National Liberation Army-Peace Council, the Arakan Liberation Party, the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, the New Mon State Party and the Lahu Democratic Union.