Non-NCA groups given Pan­g­long com­mit­tee seats

Eight seats on the joint prepara­tory com­mit­tee for the 21st-cen­tury Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence have been re­served for non-sig­na­to­ries to the na­tion­wide cease­fire agree­ment.

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - PYAE THET PHYO LUN MIN MANG

EIGHT seats have been re­served for non-sig­na­to­ries to the na­tion­wide cease­fire agree­ment on the joint prepara­tory com­mit­tee for the up­com­ing 21st-cen­tury Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence, sources in­volved in the plan­ning said yes­ter­day af­ter a meet­ing of the Union Peace Di­a­logue Joint Com­mit­tee.

Dur­ing the meet­ing of the UPDJC – a key tri­par­tite peace com­mit­tee com­pris­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the gov­ern­ment, eth­nic armed group NCA sig­na­to­ries and po­lit­i­cal par­ties – at­ten­dees agreed to grant the eight seats to the non-sig­na­tory eth­nic armed groups, who will sit with equal stand­ing to eight rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the sig­na­to­ries.

The com­mit­tee they will join is tasked with pre­par­ing for the five-day Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence, which will con­vene on Au­gust 31.

Ahead of the UPDJC’s meet­ing in Nay Pyi Taw, eth­nic armed or­gan­i­sa­tions, po­lit­i­cal par­ties and the gov­ern­ment held a se­ries of meet­ings last week at Yan­gon’s Na­tional Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and Peace Cen­ter to re­view the frame­work for po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue, but were un­able to com­plete the re­assess­ment process.

“As per the NCA [terms], eth­nic armed or­gan­i­sa­tions can be­come mem­bers of the UPDJC only af­ter they sign the cease­fire pact. We have to form the joint prepara­tory com­mit­tee so that non-sig­na­tory groups can par­tic­i­pate,” said Sai Kyaw Nyunt, an eth­nic Shan politi­cian from the Shan Na­tion­al­i­ties League for Democ­racy.

The joint prepara­tory com­mit­tee will now con­sist of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the gov­ern­ment, po­lit­i­cal par­ties, and eth­nic armed or­gan­i­sa­tions of both sig­na­tory and non-sig­na­tory groups.

“There are seven seats for the Del­e­ga­tion for Po­lit­i­cal Ne­go­ti­a­tion, an eth­nic ne­go­ti­at­ing body, and one seat for Mong La,” Sai Kyaw Nyunt said, with Mong La re­fer­ring to the Shan State-based Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance Army. “Thus there will be a to­tal of 16 mem­bers from eth­nic armed or­gan­i­sa­tions.”

The DPN is a ne­go­ti­at­ing body for the United Na­tion­al­i­ties Fed­eral Coun­cil, an um­brella al­liance of nine NCA non-sig­na­to­ries.

On May 31, the gov­ern­ment cre­ated the joint prepara­tory com­mit­tee and two sub­com­mit­tees, one for sig­na­to­ries and the other for non-sig­na­to­ries, in or­der to ad­dress the split that ex­ists be­tween eth­nic armed groups. Eight signed the NCA in Oc­to­ber, and about a dozen oth­ers opted out of the ac­cord or were de­nied a chance to sign.

U Hla Maung Shwe, the UPDJC sec­re­tary, said Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence or­gan­is­ers would await the names put for­ward from the non-sig­na­tory groups to rep­re­sent them on the joint prepara­tory com­mit­tee.

In ad­di­tion, mem­bers of the UPDJC also agreed to re­place the words “con­fer­ence rep­re­sen­ta­tives” with “con­fer­ence at­ten­dees”, a tweak de­signed to al­low non-sig­na­tory groups to join the Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence with­out feel­ing their sta­tus to be in­fe­rior to that of their sig­na­tory coun­ter­parts.

“Since we still have not fin­ished the frame­work re­view and ne­go­ti­a­tions on the talks’ rep­re­sen­ta­tion, we can­not use the words ‘con­fer­ence rep­re­sen­ta­tives’,” Sai Kyaw Nyunt said, ex­plain­ing that “con­fer­ence rep­re­sen­ta­tives”, in the of­fi­cial lex­i­con of the frame­work agree­ment, would have ap­plied only to NCA sig­na­to­ries.

De­spite fail­ure to com­plete the frame­work re­view and other un­fin­ished busi­ness as the days wind down to Au­gust 31, the Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence is set to con­vene on its orig­i­nally sched­uled date.

Ex­pec­ta­tions for the long-awaited gath­er­ing have been tem­pered in re­cent days, how­ever, with or­gan­is­ers say­ing few mat­ters of sub­stance will be on the ta­ble and no de­ci­sions will be made.

“Par­ties to the peace talks can sub­mit their points of view at the Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence. There will not be any dis­cus­sion or ex­change of views,” said Sai Kyaw Nyunt.

Two hun­dred rep­re­sen­ta­tives from eth­nic armed groups will be in­vited to the Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence, it was agreed at yes­ter­day’s UPDJC meet­ing.

Whether the Myan­mar Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance Army, the Ta’ang Na­tional Lib­er­a­tion Army and the Arakan Army still have a chance to par­tic­i­pate in the Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence is un­clear. The three groups’ sta­tus has re­mained un­cer­tain for weeks, in part com­pli­cated by a de­mand that they turn over their arms to a mu­tu­ally agreed third party in or­der to for­mally join the peace process.

That con­di­tion, which the three groups view un­favourably, stems from a tem­po­rary al­liance they formed last year in north­east Shan State, where con­flict with the Tat­madaw that first flared in Fe­bru­ary in the Kokang re­gion dragged on for months.

The groups’ of­fi­cials pre­vi­ously said they hoped the gov­ern­ment would of­fer an­other set of talks be­fore the con­fer­ence to clar­ify lin­ger­ing un­cer­tainty over the terms of their par­tic­i­pa­tion.

Both the po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue frame­work’s re­view and na­tional-level peace sum­mits will con­tinue fol­low­ing the Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence, with a se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial on Au­gust 15 say­ing the lat­ter would be con­vened ev­ery six months there­after. The gov­ern­ment’s peace team is also sched­uled to meet with the DPN ahead of the Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence.

‘We have to form the joint prepara­tory com­mit­tee so that non-sig­na­tory groups can par­tic­i­pate.’

Sai Kyaw Nyunt Shan Na­tion­al­i­ties League for Democ­racy

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.