All Ethnic Armed Groups Meet to Guess NLD’s Position on National Ceasefire Agreement

In an effort to unify both the signatories and non-signatories of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement the leaders of the ethnic armed groups met last week in Chaing Mai, Thailand. The groups met in the hope of finding unity before beginning negotiations with the newly elected National League of Democracy government.

The ethnic armed group’s summit was held from 24th to 25th of March resolved to continue to get the ethnic armed groups that were not signatories involved in the NCA under the new government.

Pado Kwe Htoo Win, secretary of the Karen National Union and leader of the Ethnic Armed Organization’s Coordinating Team said.

“Peace building is accepted by all [ethnic] groups. However, there are different approaches to implement the peace building process in terms of cooperation or negotiation.”

At the summit, reviews were held of the political dialogue conducted with the previous government, the implementation of the NCA and the convention of a Union Peace Conference.

The eight ethnic armed groups that signed the NCA formed a Peace Process Steering Team (PPST), a body representing the NCA signatories.

The NCA signatories’ armed groups also formed a body called Delegation for EAO Unity (DEU), led by U Khaing Soe Naing Aung that will focus on further discussion within the non-signatories ethnic armed organizations.

Following the summit, the DEU met with the non-signatories, Delegation for Political Negotiation (DPN) led by Ku Oo Reh to discuss how both ethnic armed groups could work together under a NLD government.

Ku Oo Reh, the leader of the DPN spoke to Karen News after the meeting.

“As we discussed things off the record, there were no specific issues covered. But as it is important for unity and cooperation among ourselves – we all have the same view. We don’t know how the new government will proceed with the peace process, so we cannot tell how we will proceed.”

The first Union Peace Conference was held from 12 to 16 January 2016, in Nay Pyi Daw. The second Union Peace Conference is schedule to be held in the near future under the new government. The ethnic armed groups said that it has to be more inclusive – involving all the ethnic armed groups that have not yet signed the NCA.

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