The seventh round of ceasefire talks between the Burmese government and an alliance of ethnic armed groups resumed on Monday at the Myanmar Peace Centre in Rangoon following a one-week break.
In their opening speeches, leading representatives from both sides pledged to reach compromises on the remaining outstanding points, effectively paving the way for a nationwide ceasefire agreement.
The latest round of negotiations kicked off on 17 March and continued for six days, during which time agreement was reached on the majority of issues, including several military-related matters and points of terminology.
However, the ethnic armed groups’ coalition United Nationalities Federal Council earlier in the week warned the government delegation that military aggression by the Burmese army, specifically noting air strikes against Kokang rebels and other ethnic militias in northern Shan and Kachin states, would only be counterproductive to the success of the peace talks.
Last week, leading Chin delegate Salai Lian Hmung Sakhong told DVB that only four issues remain on the table for discussion: the future recruitment of soldiers within ethnic armed groups; the framework for political dialogue; the government’s request to appoint its own ethnic representatives at future rounds of political dialogue; and an agreement on the ethnic armed groups’ stance during the transitional period of political dialogue.
A recent DVB poll initiated on 26 March indicates that, to date, 45 percent of readers believe that a nationwide ceasefire will be signed by the time of the November general election. Some 55 percent believe talks will ultimately fail.