The working groups of the government and Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement-Signatories, ethnic armed organizations (NCA-S EAO) held a coordination meeting on implementing the decisions made at the 8th Joint Implementation Coordination Meeting (JICM) yesterday.
The meeting was held at the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC) on Shwe Li Road, in Yangon.
NRPC Vice Chairman, Union Attorney-General U Tun Tun Oo first gave a speech. He said negotiators from both sides have met at the NRPC on 2 and 3 February to continue implementation of the decisions made at the 8th JICM.
He added that the current meeting aims to review the agreements made in implementing the NCA, proceeding levels of processes and implementation post-2020, and proposals to establish a republic based on democracy and a federal system.
U Tun Tun Oo said he hoped attendees would reassess the proposals made by both sides and make any necessary improvements. He said the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong sessions were being held to establish a democratic federal republic in line with results of political discourse.
In addition, discussions must decide on what kinds of agreements should be designated in implementation processes and NCA pledges, said U Tun Tun Oo. He said they must debate fundamental political values, strengthening ceasefire, security, reconciliation, and create trust and stability.
He said the topics for discussing chapters 3, 4 and 6 of the NCA were proposed by the government’s side in the coordination meeting with NCA-S EAOs in addition to the nature of the group for discussion. He said it is important that Part III of the Union Accord is signed at the UPC – 21st Century Panglong. He said this is why it is important for everyone to work together to produce satisfactory results at the peace conference.
U Tun Tun Oo said the peace conference processes must be initiated as soon as possible for it to be held within the first four months of 2020, as agreed at the 8th JICM. He said both sides need to agree on the timeline for the coordination meetings leading up to the peace conference. He said JICM has agreed to hold the UPDJC and JMC meetings within 2 months after the JICM meeting.
U Tun Tun Oo said the meeting the other day proposed on the date for the JMC meeting and may possibly be verified. He said the UPDJC meetings will likely revise and approve the framework for political dialogue. He said this is why this meeting must discuss the timeline for the UPDJC meetings and other meetings ahead of the peace conference.
During the 8th JICM on 8 January 2020, a decision was reached to resume the UPDJC and JMC meetings within two months and the government’s side proposed to resume the JMC meetings on 10, 11 and 12 March during the coordination meeting with NCA-S EAOs on 16 February.
Next, NCA Implementation Framework Coordination Group leader Sao Sai Ngern said in his opening speech that he heard there were good results produced at the coordination meeting between the negotiating teams of both sides on strengthening bilateral ceasefire the other day. He said these good results were the result of the efforts of the teams from both sides and the seriousness attributed to the peace process.
Sao Sai Ngern said this meeting needs to focus on the proposals brought back by the negotiating teams of both sides regarding the submissions and proposals made by both sides during the first official meeting with the government negotiating group.
He said that, just as the decisions made at the previous JICM meeting, both sides will discuss the timeline and meeting organization. He said since the UPDJC meeting, UPDJC secretariat meeting, working committee meeting, national-level political discussions and JICM meetings need to be held successively at various levels, they need to be properly prepared.
Sao Sai Ngern said when the meeting to prepare the political dialogue framework is held, they will discuss the inclusion of EAOs who have not signed the NCA yet in the 2-day meeting. He said this meeting will discuss any preparations necessary for organizing public consultations during the national-level political dialogues.
He added that this meeting is the second coordination meeting and aims to strengthen trust-building between both sides, and as such, it would be better to temporarily hold off on discussing topics both sides were not ready to discuss. He said none of them were working for the benefit of an individual or one organization and should remember they share the same goal of bringing inclusive benefit to the Union.
Sao Sai Ngern said that in the President’s message on 73rd Union Day, he mentioned that the government has marked the peace process as their top priority and was working to make it a reality regardless of any obstacle. He said the State Counsellor’s speech on Union Day also said collective strength is necessary to implement sustainable peace that is as important as life for the nation.
He also mentioned Senior General Min Aung Hlaing’s message on 73rd Shan National Day where he said the doors to peace are open to ethnic nationals for finding the solution for them to openly express their voices at the political diaolgue.
He added if everyone participated with honesty, earnestness and desire to bring benefits to the entire nation, then it won’t be long for sustainable peace and a federal republic to be realized.
Present on the government’s side in yesterday’s meeting were Lt-Gen Yar Pyae, Lt-Gen Min Naung and Lt-Gen Tin Maung Win from the Office of the Commander-in-Chief (Army), Peace Commission Secretary Lt-Gen Khin Zaw Oo (Retired), Pyithu Hluttaw representative U Pyone Cho (a) U Htay Win Aung, Peace Commission advisory board members U Hla Maung Shwe, U Moe Zaw Oo and Director-General U Zaw Htay of the Ministry of the Office of the State Counsellor.
The NCA-S EAO representatives include NCA Implementation Framework Coordination Group leader Sao Sai Ngern, NAC Implementation Coordinator U Myo Win, members U Hla Htay, Saw Mra Yazar Lin, Dr Lian Hmone Sar Khaung, Salai Htalaw Hei, Saw Sein Win, Pado Saw Tardo Moo, Pado Saw L Kalusay, Saw Kyaw Nyunt, Nai Aung Ma Ngay, Khun Myint Tun, and Dr Sai Oo. —MNA (Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)