A date will be announced for the signing of a nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) after next month’s meeting between ethnic leaders and President Thein Sein, according to the Burmese government’s chief negotiator at the peace talks, Union Minister Aung Min.
Speaking to reporters at parliament in Naypyidaw on Thursday, Aung Min said, “Representatives of the ‘Big 5’ ethnic groups will soon be coming to meet with the president. They will agree a date to sign [the NCA], and we will announce that date.
“Personally, I don’t want to speak too soon. I don’t want to say too much in case they do not come. But, as far as we are concerned, this is the latest situation.”
At present, 11 ethnic groups have confirmed their intention to sign the peace accord. However, the Burmese government is refusing to allow six member organisations to join the NCA because they are still engaged in hostilities with the Burmese army in the Kokang region of northeastern Shan state. The Kachin Independence Organisation, arguably the largest and most influential member of the ethnic alliance, insists it will not sign unless the six excluded groups are brought on board.
The ethnic delegation has proposed 17- 18 September as dates for the pivotal meeting in Naypyidaw with Thein Sein, who is expected will be joined by Burma’s Commander-in-Chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing and senior government leaders. However, the government has requested that the meeting be scheduled for an earlier date.