Everyone wants peace – or so you would think. But all too often one side only seeks an end to war on its own terms. Finding conditions that all sides can live with in Burma [Myanmar] has been tough work. Ceasefire talks began in Laiza back in late 2013. A year and a half later and we are told that just four issues remain to be thrashed out – matters concerning troops and political dialogue.
Representatives of the government and the ethnic armed groups – the UPWC and NCCT respectively – meet again on 30 March for what could be a conclusive round of talks aimed at the signing by all parties of a nationwide ceasefire agreement.
But let’s not jump the gun: the issues of troop recruitment and deployment in the transitional phase may be difficult to secure; and the terms for political dialogue include the issue of ‘federalism” tabled for discussions.
Meanwhile, conflict rages in the Kokang region among three of the ethnic bloc members and the Burmese military, while the Kachin rebels, a major player throughout the negotiations, still seem to find themselves in a never-ending series of clashes with government forces.
So – we ask you, the DVB readers – is a nationwide ceasefire agreement imminent? Will all parties sign? Will it signal an end to war? Is this a first but pivotal step to peace, at long last, in the country?
So many questions to answer. Let’s start with the first one:
(If you cannot answer this question in such strict terms or would like to add some of your own terms and conditions, please feel free to comment below.)