Negotiations aimed at drafting a nationwide ceasefire agreement began in Rangoon on Saturday between representatives of ethnic armed groups and Burmese government delegates, as well as members of the armed forces and parliament.
This meeting was notable as the first time that the armed forces and parliament have been equally represented alongside the government delegation at peace talks, with each of the three institutions sending five representatives.
In addition, ethnic groups which had not previously joined talks were now present: the United Wa State Party; the Restoration Council for Shan State (RCSS) or Shan State Army-South; the Eastern Shan State Special Region 4, a.k.a. the Mongla group; the All Burma Students Democratic Front; and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland.
Vice Chief of Staff of the Kachin Independence Army, Gen Gun Maw, said, “This is the first time that 21 revolutionary groups have joined the meeting. It is a historical situation.”
Speaking to DVB after the meeting, Salai Lian Hmung Sakhong of the Chin National Front said, “We have agreed to write the ceasefire agreement based on the points raised at the Myitkyina and Law Khee La meetings.
“There will be seven sections,” he explained. “Section 1 will be ‘Basic Principles’; Section 2 is ‘Aims and Objectives’; Section 3 is to be ‘Ceasefire’; Section 4 is related on matters that will strengthen the ceasefire; Section 5 is ‘Political Dialogue’; Section 6 is ‘Future Plans’; and Section 7 will be titled ‘General’.”
The Chin leader continued: “These sections will incorporate the 14 proposed sections that the government put forward, and the 11 sections that the ethnic groups drew up at Law Khee La. These will be the basic foundations from which discussions will move ahead.”
The ethnic leaders told DVB that a consensus has been reached on about 50 percent of the entire text for the nationwide ceasefire.
To date, the Kachin Independence Army and the Ta-ang National Liberation Army remain the only armed groups at the talks which have yet to sign a ceasefire agreement with the government. Fighting is ongoing is those areas.