The Union Peace-making Work Committee (UPWC) is scheduled to attend an informal meeting with ethnic leaders in Chiang Mai on Friday, 3 July, as part of ongoing peace-process discussions.
The government team, led by Minister Aung Min, will meet the newly formed Senior Delegation for Nationwide Ceasefire Negotiation which was elected by the ethnic armed groups at the latest formal peace talks in Lawkheela, Karen State, last month.
Hla Maung Shwe, senior advisor at the Myanmar Peace Centre, said that Friday’s meeting will focus on amendments suggested to the single-text Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA). The government has previously hinted that it would prefer to sign the draft agreement as it is, without amendment.
Khuensai Jaiyen, director of the Thailand-based Union Institute, said a compromise between the government and armed groups is crucial in order to move ahead with the peace process.
“If both sides refuse to budge, then the peace process cannot move ahead. They should consider compromising, and each take a step back in order to move forward,” he said.
“They need to consider what to prioritise, whether it’s their policies or peace in the country. It depends on how much they focus on the public interest.”
The ethnic delegation is also scheduled for an internal meeting on 2 July, the day before the informal consultation with the UPWC in northern Thailand.
After almost one and a half years of negotiation, the UPWC and the ethnic armed groups’ Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team signed a preliminary NCA in Rangoon* on 31 March this year.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: Original report mistakenly said the summit was in Lawkheela. We apologise for the oversight.