Nationwide ceasefire, political dialogue appear on the horizon

Nationwide ceasefire, political dialogue appear on the horizon

More than a dozen of Burma’s ethnic leaders reached an agreement with a government delegation on Tuesday that all sides would proceed with plans to establish political dialogue and work towards a nationwide ceasefire.

The agreement was reached after two days of talks in Kachin state capital Myitkyina between the Burmese government’s Union Peace-making Work Committee headed by President’s Office Minister Aung Min and a loose coalition of ethnic armed groups including the Arakan Liberation Party, the Chin National Front, the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, the Kachin Independence Organisation, the Karen National Union, the Karenni National Progressive Party, the New Mon State Party and the coalition United Nationalities Federal Council.

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A press release following the meeting on Tuesday afternoon stated that the ethnic groups’ Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) presented its internal list of accords reached during last week’s ethnic summit in Laiza where 18 groups discussed their intended steps towards a nationwide ceasefire.

The Union Peace Making Work Committee in return handed over copies of the government’s own version of ceasefire procedures, the joint statement said.

Both the NCCT and the government delegation agreed that steps should proceed towards establishing: a nationwide ceasefire; a framework for political dialogue; and the facilitation of political dialogue.

It was also agreed that a follow-up meeting would take place next month in Karen state capital Hpa-an.

DVB reporter Aye Nai, who attended the two-day summit, said the negotiations proceeded in a friendly and cordial manner.

He said the delegation from Naypyidaw was headed on Monday by the government’s lead negotiator Minister Aung Min and Lt-Gen Myint Soe of the Ministry of Defence. Their ethnic counterparts included: Kachin Independence Organisation chief Sumlut Gam and vice chief of staff Gen Gun Maw Sumlat; the New Mon State Party’s Nai Hongsa; Gen Mutu Say Poe representing the Karen National Union; and other leaders from Karenni, Shan, Chin and Pa-O armed groups.

Observers included Chinese officials and UN special adviser Vijay Nambiar.

Minister Aung Min told attendees at the conference on Monday that this meeting was one of the most historic events in Burma in the past 60 years.

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