NCA-Signatory EAOs to Invite Non-Signatory EAOs to Peace Process Meeting

Monday, January 20, 2020

Leaders from ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) signatory to Burma’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) have announced that they will invite non-signatory armed groups to an upcoming meeting to discuss the framework of the peace process.

“We are going to invite our brothers to attend the coming framework meeting. We have already decided it,” Col Sai Nguen, a spokesperson from an implementation working team of the Peace Process Steering Team (PPST), told media outlets, referring to the EAOs outside of the NCA. “As a first step, we will definitely invite them to a framework preparation meeting. I think it will be a starting point.”

Col Sai Nguen made the statement during a press conference following a two-day PPST meeting from January 17-18.

The preparation meeting will be held after a meeting of working teams made up of NCA-signatory EAOs, the government, and the Burmese military. Col Sai Nguen speculated that this could be held at the end of January.

“We are going to hold a meeting as soon as possible. It depends on negotiations. After we approve the framework, we can move forward with the national level political dialogue and other processes. So it will be a starting point to open the path,” he explained at the press conference.

The PPST said that the peace process framework preparation meeting would take place before the convening of the fourth session of the Union Peace Conference (UPC) in late April.

PPST spokesperson Than Khe said that everyone affected should be involved in approving the framework for the UPC.

“To seek a workable framework, we have a responsibility as well as the government and Tatmadaw. Non-NCA EAOs have responsibility for it. It will depend on negotiations between all stakeholders,” Than Khe told NMG.

The PPST reportedly decided on five points during their recent meeting, one of which was to invite non-signatory EAOs to the upcoming framework preparation meeting. Other points included major issues of discussion in the UPC. It will be discussed further in the working teams meeting, tentatively scheduled for January 28.

Leaders of the 10 NCA-signatory EAOs attended the eight PPST meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand. They include the All Burma Students Democratic Front, Arakan Liberation Party, Chin National Front, Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, Karen National Liberation Army-Peace Council, Karen National Union, New Mon State Party, Lahu Democratic Union, Pa-O National Liberation Organization, and the Restoration Council of Shan State.