Nationwide Ceasefire: Process To Draft Agreement Begins

The government’s Union Peacemaking Working Committee (UPWC) and the ethnic armed groups’, National Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), agreed during their last meeting to draft a single nationwide ceasefire agreement.

After a two-day meeting, held on the 9th and 10th of March, 2014, representatives of UPWC and the NCCT agreed to form a working committee composed of people from both groups to draft the agreement.

Attending the meeting, that was held at the Myanmar Peace Center, were representatives from the NCCT, led by Nai Han Tha, representatives from UPWC, members of parliament, representatives from UWSA, State ministers, representatives from the Defense Minister’s office and the vice-attorney general.

In a joint statement released after the meeting, both sides agreed to jointly draft the nationwide ceasefire agreement and to establish a Joint Nationwide Ceasefire Drafting Work Group made up of an equal number of members from both sides.

The NCCT’s deputy leader, Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo Win said. “The representatives could be selected from NCCT members or any other representatives from members’ organization of NCCT who are suitable for the work involved. At this stage, the UPWC and NCCT roughly agree to send nine representatives from each side [for the work group].”

The joint statement stated that it was also agreed to invite other ethnic armed groups, who do not belong to NCCT member organizations to the next nationwide ceasefire coordination meeting.

Nai Han Tha, the head of the NCCT explained. “For example, especially the armed organizations such as United Wa State Army (UWSA), the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) are yet to be included in NCCT. According to our discussion, we would like them to take part in the next meeting. Then, they will understand the process.”

Members of the NCCT’s organization had signed a drafted nationwide ceasefire agreement, but there are still other armed organizations such as the United State Wa Army (USWA), Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K), All Burma Students’ Democratic Font (ABSDF) and the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) – these are yet to join the NCCT.

NCCT and UPWC agreed to meet again in the last week of April. In the next meeting, the two groups agreed to discuss a draft of the nationwide ceasefire agreement that will include topics such as, background (or basic principles), aims and goals, ceasefire matters, ways and means for a lasting ceasefire, political dialogue guarantees, ongoing work and general issues.

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