Ethnic members of parliament from constituencies in areas of conflict met with Myanmar Peace Centre (MPC) representatives in Naypyidaw on Monday.
Head of the MPC, Aung Min led a discussion about the role of ethnic MPs in the peace process.
“As preparations are underway to start work on the third-draft of the nationwide ceasefire agreement in the beginning of August, the role of the parliament and MPs is becoming more important,” said MPC member Hla Maung Shwe. “We wanted to have a mutual discussion with them on the peace process.”
The meeting marked the first time that MPs from ethnic areas of conflict have been involved in the peace discussions.
A lower house MP from Karen State, Nan Say Awa said she has always wanted to be a part of the peace process and is glad the MPC is now including them in discussions.
“The MPC explained the current developments of the peace process to us. They said MPs would also be able to sign the national-level ceasefire agreement and that they are working to implement this as soon as possible. We asked questions and were able to learn about the process so far, for which we are happy,” she said.
Nan Say Awa went on to say that she hopes similar meetings involving ethnic MPs would take place in the future.
Around 40 MPs from conflict zones in Kachin, Shan and Karen states joined the meeting and they expressed gratitude that they were finally being included in peace discussions.
The meeting comes ahead of ceasefire talks between ethnic groups and government peace negotiators in the Kachin Independence Organisation’s headquarters, Laiza in Kachin State on 24 July.