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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/18/14

Is Myanmar peace process going well?

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Myanmar's ongoing peace process is on the edge now and again. Apart from the government, the largest part of the stakeholders is concerned about the potholed situation and even has doubts about the so-called reform that takes too much time for nationwide ceasefire.

Recently, the government's Union Peacemaking Working Committee (UPWC) and the ethnic armed groups' National Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), agreed to draft a single nationwide ceasefire agreement during their last meeting, the Karen News said. After a two-day meeting, held on the 9th and 10th of March, 2014, representatives of UPWC and the NCCT agreed to form a working committee with people from both sides to outline a draft agreement.

In a joint statement released after the meeting, both sides agreed to jointly draft the nationwide ceasefire agreement and to establish a Joint Nationwide Ceasefire Drafting Work Group made up of an equal number of members from both sides.

As said by the media news, member-organizations of the NCCT have signed a drafted nationwide ceasefire agreement but some armed organizations such as the UWSA, the RCSS/SSA, Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K), the ABSDF and the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) -- are yet to be joined the NCCT.

There will be a following meeting for the NCCT and the UPWC in the last week of April. In the next meeting, both groups agreed to talk about an outline of nationwide ceasefire agreement.   Nevertheless, it is uncertain whether the next meeting will be in April or further rescheduling.

Looking back into last year, on 1st November, President U Thein Sein broadcast a formal radio talk to entire people aired hailing the peace conference of the leaders of the ethnic armed groups that was held the end of October 2013. He said that he understand the Laiza conference as thrashing out the issues concerning the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement which is considered to have effect in the year-end.

The talk of the President emphasized on achieving lifelong peace which all citizens have longed for. Then, he reiterated welcoming all ethnic armed groups to the signing ceremony of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement after they successfully wrap up the peace conference.

U Thein Sein briefly explained via radio address the objectives of holding the signing ceremony of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. The holding of ceremony is to comply with the demands of the ethnic armed groups and reaffirm all existing agreements to open the peace dialogue process immediately after the signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, the President said.

He also confirmed once more that the peace process will not end with ceasefire. The government has committed to launch the political dialogue process from the foundation of ceasefires that already achieved.

"I am convinced that the Laiza peace conference of the leaders of ethnic armed groups will pave the way for the successful inauguration of the political dialogue process," U Thein Sein said in his 1st Nov 2013 radio program.

On 23 November, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi calls for a meeting with President U Thein Sein, the Parliament, and the military in quest of a smoother change in revising process of the 2008 Constitution, which is a fundamental question for the nation. But, the atmosphere seems disappointing to happen such kind of summit since the military chief has been staying away from seeing politicians, especially the head of the major opposition party.

While in Yangon on November 24, the secretary of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) said Myanmar's Commander-in-Chief must be among those who sign a nationwide ceasefire accord with armed ethnic groups.

"The Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services needs to sign the accord along with the President, two Vice-Presidents, speakers of both parliaments and the Chief Justice," UNFC secretary Nai Han Thar told a news conference at the Inya Lake Hotel. All of their signatures will lend a hand ensuring a durable ceasefire, according to Nai Han Thar.

The UNFC leaders called for military commander-in-chief, Sen. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, to take part in talks supporting the nation-wide ceasefire agreement, saying that the army's contribution would guarantee the contract more trustworthy.

However, Nai Han Thar's invitation toward Sen. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing to join in the national ceasefire signing ceremony also looks as if incompetent. Even though U Thein Sein knows how to comply with the demands of the ethnic armed groups, he cannot influence over military's role to take part in the nationwide ceasefire signing event.

On the other hand, on February 5, Kachin Independence Organization chairman Lanyaw Zawng Hra said that the government of President U Thein Sein is not interested in seeking a political solution to the "civil war" in Kachin State.

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Zin Linn was born on February 9, 1946 in a small town in Mandalay Division. He began writing poems in 1960 and received a B.A (Philosophy) in 1976. He became an activist in the High School Union after the students' massacre on 7th July 1962. (more...)

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