The new government peace negotiator Tin Myo Win is expected to soon have his first meeting with delegations of ethnic armed groups that didn’t sign last year’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).
The government at the end of May formed committees and subcommittees to prepare for the Union Peace Conference, dubbed the “21st century Panglong conference”, aimed to bring about peace in Burma.
Tin Myo Win was appointed chairman of a subcommittee tasked with negotiating with NCA non-signatory groups. The former Myanmar Peace Centre senior advisor Hla Maung Shwe was appointed as secretary of the subcommittee.
Hla Maung Shwe told DVB that officials of the subcommittee may soon visit Chiang Mai in northern Thailand to meet with NCA non-signatory groups.
“We are currently contacting them via mediators, and also directly with certain individuals within these groups to meet in the future — it’s likely to happen,” said Hla Maung Shwe.
“Our plan is to explain to them about our policies and considerations, with a focus on negotiating their participation in the peace conference.”
President Htin Kyaw on 30 May announced the formation of a Preparatory Committee, led by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and sub-committees to organise the union peace conference.
Suu Kyi is also the chairperson of the Union Peace Discussion Joint Committee (UPDJC) and has promised to ensure inclusiveness in the talks.
Efforts by the government to include NCA non-signatory groups in peace talks is seen as key to efforts to end ongoing conflicts between the groups and the Burmese government army, which has demanded that they disarm as a precondition for their participation in the peace process.
“If the Tatmadaw [Burmese armed forces] won’t acknowledge these armed groups in the dialogue then it is the government’s responsibility to act as a mediator,” said Mahn Nyein Maung, a central committee member of the Karen National Union, the largest NCA signatory.