Representatives of the 11-party Federal Democratic Alliance (FDA) met for a closed door meeting on Tuesday with the ethnic armed groups’ Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) to discuss Burma’s ongoing peace process.
Khin Maung Swe, chairman of the FDA and a leading member of the National Democratic Force, said NCCT leaders Nai Hongsa and Hkun Okker offered updates on the ceasefire negotiations with the Burmese government to other delegates at the meeting, which was hosted by Myanmar Peace Centre in Rangoon.
“Nai Hongsa and Col Hkun Okker briefed us about their meeting with government negotiators in April when they discussed a framework towards signing a ceasefire,” he said, before adding: “These peace talks are now bearing fruit.”
He said that FDA representatives urged the ethnic delegates to bring peace to the country ahead of elections in 2015.
“We urged the NCCT to achieve a nationwide peace before 2015, so that holes in the 2008 constitution can be fixed, as well as enacting democratic reforms, human rights mechanisms and a framework for federalism,” Khin Maung Swe said. “In return, they promised to try to initiate political dialogue this year.”
Shein Tun, secretary of the Chin Development Party (CDP), said, “When the Tatmadaw [Burmese army] was formed in 1945, it had five Burmese battalions, six Karen battalions and three Chin Rifles Battalions, as well as Shan, Arakanese and Mon units, and it was officially called the Burmese Army. We reminded the government about this during peace negotiations and hope it will help bring about some progress [towards federalism].”
The FDA was formed on 7 January this year of 11 political parties, including the NDF, CDP, Democratic Party-Myanmar, Democracy and Peace Party, the Party for Unity and Peace, and the Kayin People’s Party.
The NCCT met on 8- 9 March with representatives of the government’s Internal Peace Making Working Committee in Rangoon where they reached an agreement to form a joint-committee to finalise the drafting of a nationwide ceasefire agreement.