JULY 21, 2015, Yangon, Myanmar – The Ethnic Armed Organizations’ Senior Delegation (SD) for the nationwide ceasefire negotiation announced today that the following SD members are now in Yangon for conclusive negotiations with the government representatives at the Myanmar Peace Center to begin on July 22, 2015:
The next round of meetings of the United Nationalities Federation Council (UNFC), the alliance of Burma’s armed ethnic groups, won’t happen until January 2014. Originally the meeting was supposed to take place in December in territory controlled by the Karen National Union (KNU).
UNFC joint secretary Colonel Khun Okka was quoted by the Daily Eleven newspaper on Thursday as saying the meeting had been delayed and would be held from January 5th to 15th.
A previous meeting involving groups who were part of the UNFC and several other armed groups not part of the UNFC took place in late October at the Kachin Independence Organizaton’s (KIO) Laiza headquarters. The Laiza conference which involved representatives of 17 of Burma’s armed ethnic groups ended with a statement that all but one of the groups attending jointly signed. The declaration outlined the various groups willingness to have a national ceasefire under certain conditions. The Shan State Army (SSA) delegation did not agree to the Laiza declaration for reasons that remain unclear.
The armed rebel groups are also expected to meet with the government’s negotiating team in Karen state shortly after the meeting in the KNU area. This meeting was also originally expected to happen in December but has been postponed till January.
EMG – A national ceasefire agreement is still far from being concluded due to the government’s draft accord containing unacceptable provisions for ethnic armed groups.
Naing Han Tha, the secretary of United Nationalities Federation Council (UNFC), said there were still different views between the government and armed groups over a nationwide ceasefire accord.
“We will meet again in Hpa-an. How can they (government) compromise? How can we compromise? We can guess the solution could be sought during the Hpa-an meeting. We cannot tell now,” said Naing Han Tha.
Naing Han Tha, who also leads the National Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), hinted that progress could be achieved through a series of meetings and by maintaining the already-discussed peace processes.
He added that during a meeting with the NCCT held earlier this month in Myitkyina, Kachin State, the government shared its draft ceasefire accord with armed groups. However, it was difficult to move forward as the draft contained provisions which went beyond the points discussed in the regional and union-level peace talks.
He insisted that coordination would continue.
The Hpa-an meeting is scheduled to take place in mid-December between the Union Peacemaking Work Committee and NCCT which was formed with the ethnic armed groups after the Laiza conference in Kachin State.
The meeting will follow the second conference of the ethnic armed groups due to take place in early December in area under the Karen National Union (KNU).
NCCT members are preparing to submit their own draft ceasefire draft plan containing the position of ethnic armed groups after discussing the 11-point common agreement reached after a meeting of the UNFC held recently in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
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